\ ˈthȯ How to pronounce thaw (audio) \
thawed; thawing; thaws

Definition of thaw

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1a : to go from a frozen to a liquid state : melt
b : to become free of the effect (such as stiffness, numbness, or hardness) of cold as a result of exposure to warmth
2 : to be warm enough to melt ice and snow used with it in reference to the weather
3 : to abandon aloofness, reserve, or hostility : unbend
4 : to become mobile, active, or susceptible to change

transitive verb

: to cause to thaw



Definition of thaw (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the action, fact, or process of thawing
2 : a period of weather warm enough to thaw ice the January thaw
3 : the action or process of becoming less aloof, less hostile, or more genial a thaw in international relations

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Synonyms & Antonyms for thaw

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Verb

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Examples of thaw in a Sentence

Verb Plant the seeds in early spring as soon as the ground thaws. The sun will soon thaw the snow and ice. The weather is beginning to thaw. Our cold fingers and toes eventually thawed. She held the coffee cup tightly, trying to thaw her frozen fingers. Noun flooding from the spring thaw a thaw in international relations
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Leroy Stigen, the school’s maintenance manager, said Friday the fire may have ignited from a heater placed on the ground in an attempt to thaw the frozen pipes. Tess Williams, Anchorage Daily News, "Kaktovik mourns ‘heart of the village’ after school fire; officials scramble to resume classes," 10 Feb. 2020 Carry an empty small cooler to thaw out foods as needed. Michael R. Shea, Field & Stream, "The 12 Best Hunting and Fishing Coolers," 7 Nov. 2019 According to Butterball, there are two ways to thaw the precious bird. Sarah Brookbank,, "Thanksgiving recipes, turkey recipes and other trending food for the holidays," 21 Nov. 2018 But there are signs that icy relations between the two cities over transportation issues are thawing. Jeff B. Flinn,, "Cibolo City Council sounds death knell for toll road that might have eased I-35 congestion," 20 Jan. 2020 Even though Denver’s recent road trip didn’t go as planned, there were signs that the offense was thawing. Mike Singer, The Denver Post, "Nuggets snap three-game losing streak with blistering 3-point shooting in Carmelo Anthony’s return," 12 Dec. 2019 Because of climate change, that ground is now thawing. New York Times, "Climate Change Is Ravaging the Arctic, Report Finds," 10 Dec. 2019 Places where sea ice thawed for a few days or weeks in summer are now ice-free for longer. Zoë Schlanger, Quartz, "Climate change is luring cruise ships to sail risky Arctic passages," 1 Aug. 2019 Permafrost, the continuously frozen layer of earth that in some places has stayed frozen for millennia, is thawing as the planet warms. Simon Montlake, The Christian Science Monitor, "Will climate change force this Alaska village to relocate?," 1 July 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Blanch the frozen shrimp in the water for 1 minute to thaw, then transfer the shrimp to a mixing bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Paul Stephen,, "Recipe: Jon Hinojosa’s Shrimp Cocktail," 29 Jan. 2020 Just thaw at room temperature and reheat wrapped in foil for 10 minutes or until warmed through, if desired. oregonlive, "54 Super Bowl party foods for the ultimate snack-attack," 27 Jan. 2020 As glacial ice and permafrost around the world continues to thaw, scientists are concerned that ancient pathogens and toxic chemicals may be released into the environment. Jennifer Leman, Popular Mechanics, "Welp, Scientists Found 28 New Virus Groups in a Melting Glacier," 23 Jan. 2020 Cuba has suffered amid tightening U.S. sanctions under President Trump, after an Obama-era thaw, and a declining flow of subsidized oil from its ally Venezuela. Rachelle Krygier, Washington Post, "The U.S. is pushing Latin American allies to send their Cuban doctors packing — and several have," 21 Jan. 2020 About 20% of the Arctic’s permafrost is vulnerable to abrupt thaw, followed by sinking of the soil left behind. Jeff Tollefson, Scientific American, "The World’s Oceans Are Losing Power to Stall Climate Change," 25 Sep. 2019 Higher temperatures are also causing permafrost to thaw, releasing, yes, more carbon. Umair Irfan, Vox, "Report: we have to change how we use land and produce food to fight climate change," 8 Aug. 2019 When the high mountains thaw in summer, the stiffness decreases and the ground sediments get soggy and wobbly with water. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Climate Change Has Made Climbing the Matterhorn More Dangerous," 25 July 2019 In the Khrushchev thaw, China was the unreconstructed past; Mao proclaimed Russia revisionist. The Economist, "But their new partnership makes China a lot more equal than Russia," 25 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'thaw.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of thaw


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for thaw


Middle English, from Old English thawian; akin to Old High German douwen to thaw, Greek tēkein to melt, Latin tabēre to waste away

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Time Traveler for thaw

Time Traveler

The first known use of thaw was before the 12th century

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Statistics for thaw

Last Updated

14 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Thaw.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for thaw


How to pronounce thaw (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of thaw

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to stop being frozen or to cause (something) to stop being frozen
of weather : to become warm enough that snow and ice melt
: to return to a normal temperature after being very cold



English Language Learners Definition of thaw (Entry 2 of 2)

: a period of weather that is warm enough to melt ice and snow
: a situation in which a relationship becomes more friendly and less angry


\ ˈthȯ How to pronounce thaw (audio) \
thawed; thawing

Kids Definition of thaw

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to melt or cause to melt
2 : to grow less unfriendly or quiet in manner



Kids Definition of thaw (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a period of weather warm enough to melt ice and snow
2 : the action, fact, or process of becoming less hostile or unfriendly

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More from Merriam-Webster on thaw

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for thaw

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with thaw

Spanish Central: Translation of thaw

Nglish: Translation of thaw for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of thaw for Arabic Speakers

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