thor·​ough·​bred | \ ˈthər-ə-ˌbred, ˈthə-rə-\

Definition of thoroughbred 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : bred from the best blood through a long line : purebred thoroughbred dogs
2a capitalized : of, relating to, or being a Thoroughbred horse
b : having characteristics resembling those of a Thoroughbred
3 : thoroughly trained or skilled a thoroughbred soldier



Definition of thoroughbred (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a purebred or pedigreed animal
2 capitalized : any of an English breed of light speedy horses kept chiefly for racing that originated from crosses between English mares of uncertain ancestry and Arabian stallions
3 : a thoroughly educated or skilled person

Illustration of thoroughbred

Illustration of thoroughbred



In the meaning defined above

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Synonyms & Antonyms for thoroughbred

Synonyms: Adjective

blooded, full-blood, full-blooded, pedigreed (or pedigree), pure-blooded (or pure-blood), purebred

Antonyms: Adjective

hybrid, mixed, mongrel

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Examples of thoroughbred in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Mike Thomas’s job required him to spend most of his days teaching members of the club, set amid rolling hills and thoroughbred breeding farms outside Louisville. Brian Costa, WSJ, "The Secret to Raising a Golf Prodigy Isn’t What You Think It Is," 27 Apr. 2018 Favorite Justify seems to 'float' above track before Belmont Stakes Saturday Matt Stone, Louisville Courier Journal ELMONT, N.Y. — Gronkowski the thoroughbred racehorse is set to make his United States debut Saturday in the Belmont Stakes. Fletcher Page, The Courier-Journal, "Rob Gronkowski showed up at the Belmont Stakes to support Gronkowski," 9 June 2018 The highly skilled and lightweight jockeys who ride thoroughbred racehorses weigh anywhere from 105 to 116 pounds, and when racing, a horse doesn’t carry any more than 126 pounds. Kalyn Kahler,, "The Odds Aren’t In His Favor, but Rob Gronkowski Is All in on Gronkowski the Horse," 5 June 2018 In 2015, Baffert, jockey Victor Espinoza and American Pharoah captured the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes in 2015 to win thoroughbred racing’s first Triple Crown since Affirmed in 1978. Andrew J. Campa,, "Justify, Baffert aim for greatness," 7 June 2018 Rob Gronkowski the human being will finally get to see Gronkowski the thoroughbred race this Saturday at the Belmont Stakes. Charles Curtis, For The Win, "Rob Gronkowski on Gronkowski the horse: Maybe he has 'extra powers' for Belmont Stakes," 6 June 2018 In the winter of 2002, thoroughbred horse trainer Bob Baffert was entrusted by big-spending owner Satish Sanan with the care and racing career of a very promising two-year-old colt named Vindication. Tim Layden,, "Trainer Bob Baffert, Justify Jockey Mike Smith Relish a Remarkable Ride Before Belmont Stakes," 6 June 2018 Saratoga Springs is famed for thoroughbred racing and home to the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame. William D’urso, Outside Online, "The Best Way to See the U.S. Is by Train," 1 July 2018 Justify returned to Louisville on Monday after winning the Belmont Stakes to become thoroughbred racing’s 13th Triple Crown winner. Jason Frakes, The Courier-Journal, "Justify parade highlights Stephen Foster Night at Churchill Downs," 15 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Its surface is only a half-mile oval—as opposed to the one-mile oval at Suffolk — and is considered narrow for thoroughbreds. Andy Rosen,, "Suffolk Downs group plans to conduct racing at Great Barrington in 2019," 23 May 2018 The 144th edition of the mile-and-a-quarter race for three-year-old thoroughbreds is expected to attract more than 150,000 spectators. Danielle Rossingh, CNN, "The Kentucky Derby: five reasons why you shouldn't miss it," 2 May 2018 Justify, one of the ten race day horses, is the only thoroughbred up for the American Triple Crown, making him a popular bet for the day. Childs Walker,, "Justify expected to continue racing after Triple Crown triumph," 10 June 2018 When Bob Baffert switched from quarter horses to thoroughbreds in 1991, fellow trainer D. Wayne Lukas was in the middle of his record run of 14 Triple Crown race victories. Jason Frakes, The Courier-Journal, "With two Triple Crowns, is Bob Baffert now the greatest trainer of all time?," 9 June 2018 Blowen uses high school analogies to describe the differences in two of the most successful thoroughbreds of all time. Fletcher Page, The Courier-Journal, "Triple Crown close calls Silver Charm and War Emblem now live together," 29 May 2018 The decision to withhold Justify from competition as a 2-year-old, skipping the traditional finishing school for thoroughbreds from whom much is expected, wasn't a decision at all, as Baffert explained. Liz Clarke,, "Justify's path to cusp of Triple Crown is unusual. But so is training a 1,380-pound athlete.," 7 June 2018 Brown found that Sirhan was recruited by the operator of a private ranch for thoroughbreds to ride horses there, even though Sirhan had little experience riding. Tom Jackman, Washington Post, "The assassination of Bobby Kennedy: Was Sirhan Sirhan hypnotized to be the fall guy?," 4 June 2018 And so, Justify became the 13th thoroughbred to win the Triple Crown and Smith just the 12th person to ride the same horse across the finish line first in each of horse racing's three most important events. Fletcher Page, The Courier-Journal, "Mike Smith showed value of age, experience in Justify's Triple Crown," 15 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'thoroughbred.' 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 thoroughbred


1701, in the meaning defined at sense 3


1728, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Last Updated

5 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for thoroughbred

The first known use of thoroughbred was in 1701

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More Definitions for thoroughbred



English Language Learners Definition of thoroughbred

: an animal (especially a horse) whose parents are from the same breed

Thoroughbred : a type of fast horse used mainly for racing


thor·​ough·​bred | \ ˈthər-ō-ˌbred \

Kids Definition of thoroughbred

 (Entry 1 of 2)



Kids Definition of thoroughbred (Entry 2 of 2)

1 capitalized : a speedy horse of an English breed kept mainly for racing
2 : a purebred animal
3 : a very educated or skilled person

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