\ 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 And while many vaccines come in ready-to-go syringes, these were developed too quickly to add such conveniences; health-care workers must remember how to thaw and prepare each dose. Ed Yong, The Atlantic, "Pandemic Year Two," 29 Dec. 2020 Because alcohol has a lower melting point than water, this can help thaw some of the frozen gunk. Emily Price, Popular Science, "The right and wrong ways to clear ice and snow from your car," 17 Dec. 2020 There's also a refrigerator to thaw vaccines, said Andrew Cox, environmental health division director for the county health department. Christina Hall, Detroit Free Press, "COVID-19 vaccination stations in Macomb County set for those who get first dose," 14 Dec. 2020 Vaccines that must be kept frozen at ultra-cold temperatures may thaw out and have to be thrown away. Maggie Fox, CNN, "The coronavirus vaccine rollout will be messy. People will have to deal with that.," 13 Dec. 2020 What fails to thaw over the following summer is covered by the next year’s snowfall, and successive sheets are formed. David James, Anchorage Daily News, "Scientific but lyrical volume explores how the histories of glaciers and humans are intertwined," 6 Dec. 2020 As the climate warmed, permafrost would have begun to thaw out and soften, sending mushy rivers of sludge pouring into the sea and releasing carbon into the air. Chelsea Harvey, Scientific American, "If Past Is a Guide, Arctic Could Be Verging on Permafrost Collapse," 19 Oct. 2020 Made from natural ingredients like ginger, cloves, cinnamon and heaps of pure pumpkin, the pie is shipped frozen so your recipient is able to thaw and serve it at their leisure. Marissa Miller, USA TODAY, "15 thoughtful gifts to send if you can't make it home for Thanksgiving," 18 Nov. 2020 The turkey arrives frozen and will need to thaw two to three days before heating and serving. Lesley Kennedy, CNN Underscored, "Get Thanksgiving delivered this year with these 8 easy meal kits," 9 Nov. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun But the president-elect has signaled more movement on Cuba, tilting back toward former president Barack Obama’s landmark thaw in relations that inspired hopes on the island of a new economic future for struggling Cubans. Washington Post, "Biden wants to re-thaw relations with Cuba. He'll have to navigate Florida politics.," 25 Nov. 2020 Permafrost thaw in Siberia led to a 2018 anthrax outbreak and the death of 200,000 reindeer and a child. Kimberley R. Miner, Scientific American, "Deep Frozen Arctic Microbes Are Waking Up," 20 Nov. 2020 In August 2015, during a brief thaw in relations between the US and North Korea, Kim visited the DPRK and interviewed Paek. Sophie Pinkham, The New York Review of Books, "‘Something Resembling Normal Life’," 17 Nov. 2020 In lower elevation areas, Glacier National Park’s hiking trails will start to reopen as things thaw. Evie Carrick, Travel + Leisure, "The Best Time to Visit Glacier National Park for Wildlife Spotting Without the Crowds," 18 Oct. 2020 To simulate environmental conditions on the moon, scientists subjected the lunar concrete mixture to vacuum and freeze-thaw cycles. Nora Mcgreevy, Smithsonian Magazine, "Astronauts Could Use Their Own Pee to Build a Moon Base," 19 May 2020 Eventually, though, the thaw will be complete and a new equilibrium reached that makes the land buildable and plantable again. New York Times, "How Russia Wins the Climate Crisis," 16 Dec. 2020 Moderates say one way to ease the thaw might be the return of earmarks, funding for specific projects usually inserted by lawmakers into broad spending bills. Ledyard King, USA TODAY, "Let's make a deal: A Joe Biden presidency and narrow majorities in Congress could boost moderates' clout," 9 Dec. 2020 Autumn warmth lingers longer - and the spring thaw arrives a couple weeks earlier. Star Tribune, "Mainly Quiet Weekend - Snow Flurries Possible Late Saturday," 4 Dec. 2020

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

7 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Thaw.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Jan. 2021.

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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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