\ 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

Synonyms & Antonyms for thaw

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Verb

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb One of my other favorite stories was about a gentleman whose wife had asked him to help her thaw a turkey using the water bath method. Megan Marples, CNN, 24 Nov. 2021 If your ham is frozen, make sure to budget 2–3 days for it to slowly thaw in the fridge. Amiel Stanek, Bon Appétit, 23 Nov. 2021 Allow at least 24 hours of thawing time for each 5 pounds of turkey and always thaw the bird in the refrigerator in its original wrapping, never at room temperature. Sue Selasky, Detroit Free Press, 22 Nov. 2021 The departure of Benjamin Netanyahu as prime minister helped thaw Israel-Jordan ties. Dina Kraft, The Christian Science Monitor, 9 Nov. 2021 To enjoy, thaw out for 24 hours in the fridge, then reheated. Minerva Orduño Rincón, The Arizona Republic, 9 Dec. 2021 The best way is to plan ahead and thaw it in the refrigerator between two and five days depending on the size of the turkey. Chris Anderson, Bon Appétit, 22 Nov. 2021 Remembering to thaw it properly (35%) also creates difficulty. People Staff,, 28 Sep. 2021 And no, your grandmother’s time-honored trick of rolling turkey in dirt is not a food-safe way to thaw it. Chris Anderson, Bon Appétit, 22 Nov. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Summer and fall are the best times for bikepacking, especially since most mountain bike trails are closed during wet weather and the freeze-thaw times of year in order to prevent bicycles from leaving ruts and causing permanent damage. Chelsey Lewis, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 31 Dec. 2021 One of the most famous—and famously difficult to access—spots in Death Valley is the Racetrack, a dry lake bed dotted with large boulders that move during infrequent freeze-thaw conditions, leaving slug-like trails in the playa crust. Shawnté Salabert, Outside Online, 6 Nov. 2019 These masters of balance and strength skim the river from spring thaw until the hectic boat traffic of fall that precedes the Head of the Charles, when nearly 2,000 boats race a notoriously winding 3-mile course. Bethany Ericson, The Christian Science Monitor, 13 Oct. 2021 Spring thaw has not been early the past five years. John Schandelmeier, Anchorage Daily News, 14 Sep. 2021 Like a spring thaw, the scenic drive to Zion dispelled every thought of harsh winter, leaving just joy. WSJ, 27 Aug. 2021 But that new model doesn't arrive until mid-October, and will remain near-impossible to procure at least through the spring thaw. Gear Team, Wired, 10 Aug. 2021 Some experts suspect that a version of these freeze-thaw cycles may have created patterns observed on the surface of Mars. Elizabeth Gamillo, Smithsonian Magazine, 8 Nov. 2021 Scientists may not yet have the technology to bring back the dead, but one post circulating on social media claims worms frozen for more than a millennium came back to life after a simple thaw. Miriam Fauzia, USA TODAY, 16 Nov. 2021

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.

See More

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

Learn More About thaw

Time Traveler for thaw

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near thaw



thaw house

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for thaw

Last Updated

19 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Thaw.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Jan. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for thaw



English Language Learners Definition of thaw

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to stop being frozen or to cause (something) to stop being frozen
: 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

More from Merriam-Webster on thaw

Nglish: Translation of thaw for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of thaw for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Thing: Flower Edition

Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!