thor·​ough·​bred | \ ˈthər-ə-ˌbred How to pronounce thoroughbred (audio) , 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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of thoroughbred in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

And, stripped of the hype around self-driving cars and efficient algorithms, Uber looks less like a thoroughbred tech unicorn and more like a Wall Street boiler room Ponzi scheme. Wired, "WIRED Book of the Month: Super Pumped by Mike Isaac," 3 Sep. 2019 There is a horse shortage in thoroughbred racing, one that has contributed to the reduction of races and race days at Saratoga Race Course. Joe Drape, New York Times, "Where Have All the Race Horses Gone?," 23 Aug. 2019 However, the track’s former operators are trying to revive thoroughbred racing on the other side of the state, at the Great Barrington Fairgrounds. Jon Chesto,, "Quincy developer unveils horse track, casino plan for Wareham," 19 Aug. 2019 However, as thoroughbred racing has grown into a billion-pound industry, Arabian racing has been left still finding its feet. Ben Church, CNN, "When the British countryside hosts Dubai royalty and Arabian racing," 15 Aug. 2019 Nikki Boliaux, Louisville Courier Journal The ongoing debate about the direction of thoroughbred racing took a contentious turn Friday when four trainers who have won the Kentucky Derby endorsed a bill opposed by Churchill Downs. Tim Sullivan, The Courier-Journal, "Even as top trainers issue letter of support for reform bill, horse racing remains at odds," 9 Aug. 2019 Tua the American Saddlebred’s naming is unrelated to Tuaandtwentysix, the thoroughbred named for Tagovailoa’s heroic national title throw against Georgia in 2018. Michael Casagrande |, al, "Show horse named Tua ‘took our industry by storm’ by winning in first try," 31 July 2019 Horse safety has been the dominant issue in thoroughbred racing this year as the industry copes with public and political outcry over the spate of 30 deaths at Santa Anita Park since late December. Baltimore Sun Staff,, "Laurel Park cancels Saturday and Sunday racing because of excessive heat forecasts," 18 July 2019 To date, nearly $56 million has been paid out __ $21 million to the thoroughbred industry and another $34 million to the separate harness racing industry, according to Massachusetts Gaming Commission data. Washington Post, "New England’s last thoroughbred horse track winds down," 28 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Horses charge out of the starting gate during a June thoroughbred race at the Los Alamitos Race Course. John Cherwa, Los Angeles Times, "L.A. County Fair thoroughbred meet might be making its final September run," 5 Sep. 2019 For many years, the family-owned a farm in Ceres, California, where Rodger would break and train champion thoroughbreds., "Deaths in South Florida: 8/1," 1 Aug. 2019 Though Battuello’s goal is to abolish thoroughbred racing and Jockey Club President Jim Gagliano’s job is to perpetuate it, both men see merit in more disclosure. Tim Sullivan, The Courier-Journal, "Horse fatality reports made public for first time by Kentucky Horse Racing Commission," 27 June 2019 The horse racing industry has faced a backlash this year with growing awareness of how many thoroughbreds die during racing and training across the country. Elliott Almond, The Mercury News, "Horse race deaths: Another track bans famed Bay Area trainer," 10 July 2019 Moments before the second race began, murmurs and gasps rippled through the Turf Club: a thoroughbred had slipped loose and bolted around the track. Vanessa Hua,, "The curious power of a day at the races," 7 June 2019 Not long ago, racing’s tendency was to gloss over such continuing carnage as an unfortunate but inevitable byproduct of a sport in which young thoroughbreds are trained to run at stressful speeds on fragile legs. Tim Sullivan, The Courier-Journal, "Horse fatality reports made public for first time by Kentucky Horse Racing Commission," 27 June 2019 The family patriarch, Frank Stronach, is a Canadian auto-parts billionaire who has invested much of his fortune in breeding and owning thoroughbreds and acquiring showpiece racetracks, even as interest in the sport has declined. Corina Knoll, New York Times, "Why So Many Horses Have Died at Santa Anita," 26 June 2019 Every May, racing fans from around the world flock to Churchill Downs in Louisville, eager to watch thoroughbreds — many of them reared in the rolling hills nearby — tear around the track. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column One: In a neglected cemetery lie black jockeys who helped create the Kentucky Derby," 2 May 2019

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.

See More

First Known Use of thoroughbred


1701, in the meaning defined at sense 3


1728, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about thoroughbred

Statistics for thoroughbred

Last Updated

12 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for thoroughbred

The first known use of thoroughbred was in 1701

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for thoroughbred



English Language Learners Definition of thoroughbred

: an animal (especially a horse) whose parents are from the same breed
: a type of fast horse used mainly for racing


thor·​ough·​bred | \ ˈthər-ō-ˌbred How to pronounce thoroughbred (audio) \

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on thoroughbred

What made you want to look up thoroughbred? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


recurring in steady succession

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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