ˈthresh How to pronounce thresh (audio)
threshed; threshing; threshes

transitive verb

: to separate seed from (a harvested plant) mechanically
also : to separate (seed) in this way
: to strike repeatedly

intransitive verb

: to thresh grain

Examples of thresh in a Sentence

threshing and harvesting at the same time the poor dog threshed against his chain
Recent Examples on the Web On the precipice For all their importance to the smooth running of nature’s threshing machine, vultures themselves are being mowed under at an alarming rate. Natalie Angier, New York Times, 12 Nov. 2023 The hurricane with no name threshed across the Atlantic coast in mid-September 1713, ripping at tobacco crops and sending panicked colonists inland, where the storm's destructive power found them. oregonlive, 5 Sep. 2019 The rice at the top of the stalks in the paddies was hard and yellow, ready to be cut, threshed and dried in the sun. New York Times, 8 Aug. 2019 Vintage tractors, trucks, cars and motorcycles will be on display, and there will be a Parade of Power, tractor pulls and demonstrations of threshing, horse plowing, butter churning, blacksmithing and more. Phil Marty,, 29 July 2019 Subrat Chandra Gayen, another resident of Joymoni, said nearly 80 percent of families have had to give up on rice farming, which once provided food and an income for most people in the area, including women who sowed, harvested, and threshed it. Manipadma Jena, The Christian Science Monitor, 19 Mar. 2018 In the San Joaquin Valley, beans are harvested by a machine called Big Bertha, which can pick and thresh fifty thousand pounds a day. Junot Díaz, The New Yorker, 17 Apr. 2018 Deuteronomy 25:4 prohibits the muzzling of an ox that is threshing. Karen Swallow Prior, Washington Post, 29 Jan. 2018 Sometimes scenes of hunting, netting fish, herding and butchering animals, threshing grain and other farming activities were carved or painted directly onto tomb walls, as in the exquisite murals at the ancient burial grounds at Saqqara near Cairo. Salima Ikram, Smithsonian, 3 Feb. 2017 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'thresh.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English thresshen, from Old English threscan; akin to Old High German dreskan to thresh

First Known Use

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of thresh was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near thresh

Cite this Entry

“Thresh.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


ˈthrash How to pronounce thresh (audio)
: to separate seed from a harvested plant especially by using a machine or tool
thresh wheat
: thrash sense 4
thresh over a problem
: thrash sense 3
threshed about in bed

More from Merriam-Webster on thresh

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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