\ ˈthrəst How to pronounce thrust (audio) \
thrust; thrusting

Definition of thrust

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to push or drive with force : shove
2 : to cause to enter or pierce something by or as if by pushing thrust a dagger into his heart
3 : extend, spread
4 : stab, pierce
5a : to put (someone, such as an unwilling person) forcibly into a course of action or position was thrust into the job
b : to introduce often improperly into a position : interpolate
6 : to press, force, or impose the acceptance of upon someone thrust new responsibilities upon her

intransitive verb

1a : to force an entrance or passage
b : to push forward : press onward
c : to push upward : project
2 : to make a thrust, stab, or lunge with or as if with a pointed weapon thrust at them with a knife



Definition of thrust (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : a forward or upward push
b : a movement (as by a group of people) in a specified direction
2a : salient or essential element or meaning the thrust of the argument
b : principal concern or objective the plan's major thrust is testing— Ryan Lizza
3a : a strong continued pressure
b : the sideways force or pressure of one part of a structure against another part (as of an arch against an abutment)
c : the force produced by a propeller or by a jet or rocket engine that drives a vehicle (such as an aircraft) forward
d : a nearly horizontal geologic fault
4a : a push or lunge with a pointed weapon
b(1) : a verbal attack
(2) : a military assault

Synonyms for thrust

Synonyms: Verb

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of thrust in a Sentence

Verb He thrust his hands into his pockets. He thrust his fist into the air. The doctor thrust the needle into the patient's arm. He thrust at me with his sword. Noun With one last thrust he broke through the barrier. a single thrust of his sword See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Avoid a spoon with a rough or worn end, which when thrust into the warm cake, is likely to hold onto crumbs even once the spoon is pulled out. Washington Post, 11 May 2022 Throughout the intimate set, the U2 duo were joined on their makeshift stage by Ukrainian musicians thrust into military duty due to Russia’s invasion; singer Taras Topolya from the Ukrainian band Antytila were among those singing alongside Bono. Daniel Kreps, Rolling Stone, 8 May 2022 Russia has sought to thrust south from Izyum, which is southeast of Kharkiv, but has encountered stiff Ukrainian resistance. James Marson, WSJ, 6 May 2022 When a person is thrust into the role of caregiver, they will be allowed to pull back on the hours without any pushback. Jack Kelly, Forbes, 6 May 2022 The gimbaled engine that SpaceRyde is currently testing can be maneuvered around by its operators, generating thrust in the direction of their choosing. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, 29 Apr. 2022 Still, one silver lining that’s stood out as a consequence of his reign has been the ability of he and his family to thrust ongoing concerns about corruption and foreign influence into the center of national conversation. Casey Michel, The New Republic, 20 Apr. 2022 Weighing 4229 pounds, our test car got to 60 mph in 6.0 seconds flat and covered the quarter-mile in 14.6 seconds at 94 mph—ample thrust for dispatching dawdling Winnebagos on country roads. Mike Sutton, Car and Driver, 14 Apr. 2022 McIlroy, who has not had much to celebrate in the closing moments of a Masters, flung his wedge into the sand and thrust both arms over his head. New York Times, 10 Apr. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The thrust of that remembrance five years ago was that history should not repeat. Frank Witsil, Detroit Free Press, 2 May 2022 The thrust of this criticism is that, by waiting too long, the Fed is more likely to have to raise interest rates to a degree that could well cause the economy to nosedive. John Cassidy, The New Yorker, 17 Mar. 2022 So, the plane needs to have a thrust-to-weight ratio higher than one. Manasee Wagh, Popular Mechanics, 15 Apr. 2022 Thus the thrust by elite airborne forces in the war's opening hours. Robert Burns, Fortune, 6 Apr. 2022 But the thrust of their argument, couched in neutral legalese, was that the states’ claim to a constitutional right to SALT deductions is nonsensical. Matt Ford, The New Republic, 6 Apr. 2022 The earthquake began as a thrust, in which one side moved up relative to the other, but this was mostly hidden—this part of the earthquake didn’t breach the surface. Alka Tripathy-lang, Ars Technica, 12 Mar. 2022 But the drama is a kind of sketch assemblage, in which the main thrust isn’t an arc or a plot mechanism but a tone of rage and scorn. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, 5 Apr. 2022 The main thrust of the story is that the Biden administration, particularly the Treasury Department, has struggled to put teeth in various sanctions and penalties intended to make oligarchs suffer for their ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin. al, 3 Apr. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'thrust.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of thrust


13th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 4a

History and Etymology for thrust


Middle English thrusten, thristen, from Old Norse thrȳsta; probably akin to Old Norse thrjōta to tire, Old English thrēat coercion — more at threat

Learn More About thrust

Time Traveler for thrust

Time Traveler

The first known use of thrust was in the 13th century

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near thrust



thrust augmentation

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for thrust

Last Updated

13 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Thrust.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 May. 2022.

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

More Definitions for thrust


\ ˈthrəst How to pronounce thrust (audio) \
thrust; thrusting

Kids Definition of thrust

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to push with force : shove The small man thrust the lamp into Will's hand.— Susan Cooper, The Dark Is Rising
3 : extend sense 1 He thrust out his arm.
4 : to press the acceptance of on someone New responsibilities were thrust on her.



Kids Definition of thrust (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a push or jab with a pointed weapon
2 : a military attack
3 : a forward or upward push

More from Merriam-Webster on thrust

Nglish: Translation of thrust for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of thrust for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Great Words for Scrabble

  • scrabble tiles that read scrabble quiz
  • Which of the following Q-without-U words means the number five in cards or dice?
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!