\ 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 Or, freeze single-serve drinks like water, yogurt or milk (skip the juice) that will be thawed out by lunchtime. Madelyn Fernstrom, NBC News, "Dr. Fernstrom: 7 healthy (and fun) back-to-school lunch hacks," 3 Sep. 2019 The safest method is to thaw all foods overnight in the refrigerator. Sayde Beeler, Rdn, Detroit Free Press, "Freezer meals: A how-to guide," 2 Sep. 2019 Freeze these finger sandwiches; they’ll be thawed when you’re done paddling or pedaling. Susan Clotfelter, The Know, "Bored with raisins? Try these 5 “fancy” trail mix recipes," 27 Aug. 2019 Once frozen, a fish can be thawed only once before being eaten. Caroline Lester, The New Yorker, "The Last Presidential Salmon," 7 Aug. 2019 With one year remaining on his contract, Leonard was expected to thaw out as soon as possible after a short stint in Toronto, allowing Ujiri and Co. to hit a hard reset button as the franchise moves to the next decade. Michael Shapiro,, "Five Big Questions Surrounding Kawhi Leonard's NBA Free Agency," 25 June 2019 Even as floodwaters receded, rivers remained swollen as late-season snow continued to thaw into May. Forecasters realized that the early-season flooding would exacerbate flooding a few months later, even with typical seasonal rainfall. Umair Irfan, Vox, "The severe floods soaking the Midwest and Southeast are not letting up," 11 June 2019 That represented a change from 10 years ago, when Putin was invited amid attempts to thaw relations between the West and Russia at the time. Vanessa Gera,, "German president offers deep remorse for pain inflicted on Poles in World War II," 1 Sep. 2019 To thaw, simply set the turkey on a large rimmed baking sheet and slide it in the fridge. Charlyne Mattox, Country Living, "How to Perfectly Cook a 20-Pound Thanksgiving Turkey," 16 Aug. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The most visible and disturbing change has come at sea, where summer sea ice—the floating expanse that covers much of the Arctic Ocean during the region’s brief thaw—has been disappearing at an astonishing rate. Neil Shea, National Geographic, "A thawing Arctic is heating up a new Cold War," 21 Aug. 2019 While large collapses don't happen often, the cliffs often erode with spring thaw. Emma Keith, Detroit Free Press, "Pictured Rocks cliff collapses right next to kayakers in Lake Superior," 14 Aug. 2019 And that could come from powerful stimulus by China or a thaw in the trade war. Matt Egan, CNN, "How Trump's tax cuts and the trade war have set the stage for a self-inflicted recession," 23 Aug. 2019 More leaks could be in the offing as pipes thaw throughout Thursday, leading to contraction that risks a break. Drew Broach,, "Public forum set for Jefferson candidates: sheriff, Kenner seats, Metairie constable," 18 Jan. 2018 Next, Jansson plans to investigate whether rapid thaws affect soil microbe populations differently from more gradual thaws, since both will likely become commonplace as the planet warms. Quanta Magazine, "Below Our Feet, a World of Hidden Life," 16 June 2015 The exchange was part of a tentative thaw in relations between Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukraine’s new president. The Economist, "Ukraine and Russia exchange prisoners in a modest step towards peace," 7 Sep. 2019 And the offer of the pandas was part of a historic thaw in relations. Michael E. Ruane, Washington Post, "Could pandas get caught in the U.S.-China trade war?," 27 Aug. 2019 Relations between the nations have been strained since and Friday's meeting showed little sign of an upcoming thaw. Tara John And Zahid Mahmood, CNN, "Photo reveals awkward first meeting between Theresa May and Vladimir Putin since Salisbury poisoning," 28 June 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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Statistics for thaw

Last Updated

24 Oct 2019

Time Traveler for thaw

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

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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

Comments on thaw

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to speed up the process or progress of

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