\ ˈthrəst \
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 geological fault

4a : a push or lunge with a pointed weapon

b(1) : a verbal attack

(2) : a military assault

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms & Antonyms for thrust

Synonyms: Verb

arise, ascend, aspire, climb, lift, mount, rise, soar, up, uprise, upthrust, upturn

Antonyms: Verb

decline, descend, dip, drop, fall (off), plunge

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of thrust in a Sentence


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.


With one last thrust he broke through the barrier. a single thrust of his sword
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Historically, they’ve been shielded from America’s worst policies; after the election, however, they were thrust out of their institution-trusting comfort zone, forced to acknowledge the ills that, as subtext under Obama, became text under Trump. Julianne Tveten, The New Republic, "How corporate America has commodified the protest movements of the Trump era," 4 Apr. 2018 That one was more hidden, in a nearby freight-railway gulch, while the newer camps have thrust more drug activity into public view. Jon Kamp, WSJ, "Wracked by Opioid Crisis, Philadelphia Braces for Tent-Camp Closures," 26 May 2018 Viewers are invited to cool off with a refreshing glass of Pimm’s, and, like at other arenas, children can regularly be seen thrusting oversize gift-shop tennis balls at sweaty players (victorious or not) after a match. David Abrahams, Vogue, "At a Wimbledon Full of Unprecedented Twists and Turns, Scenes From On and Off the Court," 13 July 2018 Those plans have thrust the Jones settlement back into the spotlight. Emily Alpert Reyes,, "Garcetti says L.A. can resume disputed ban on overnight sidewalk sleeping," 22 June 2018 In an effort to thrust 911 call centers into the 21st century, Apple announced Monday that the next major update to iPhone software will allow users in the U.S. to automatically share location data with emergency responders. Trisha Thadani,, "911, what’s your emergency? For dispatchers, it’s locating callers," 18 June 2018 The lightning diplomacy between the U.S. and North Korea before next week’s historic summit has thrust a little-known CIA officer into an uncomfortably public role as a key intermediary in talks between the two adversaries. Nick Wadhams,, "Mystery CIA Officer Thrust Into Spotlight as Korea Summit Looms," 6 June 2018 The soaring great room is the 2,511-square-foot home’s focal point, where the overhanging roof appears to thrust the space out toward Cedar Lake. Lauren Ro, Curbed, "Gorgeous Frank Lloyd Wright home wants $3.4M in Minneapolis," 31 May 2018 The Parkland shooting that killed 17 students and staff and subsequent student demonstrations have thrust gun control into the midterm elections. Skyler Swisher,, "Giffords gun-control group targets NRA-friendly Florida congressman with ad," 9 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

This initial collision caused a chain reaction when the Cruze was thrust forward by the semi. Aleanna Siacon, Detroit Free Press, "33-year-old woman from Clio dead after multi-vehicle accident," 10 Feb. 2018 Suddenly, Jasper, a timber town with a population of about 8,000 back then and almost evenly divided between white and black residents, was thrust into the spotlight and viewed nationally through the lens of Southern racial history. New York Times, "In Texas, a Decades-Old Hate Crime, Forgiven but Never Forgotten," 9 July 2018 In no time, Hinchcliffe had thrust himself into second place and began to stalk Newgarden. Jim Ayello, Indianapolis Star, "Insider: James Hinchcliffe finds some salvation in Iowa," 8 July 2018 The angels were forged from melted cannons used in the civil war, and their blades are thrust down into the walkway as a sign that the battle has ended and peace has arrived. Matías Costa, Smithsonian, "The Battle Over the Memory of the Spanish Civil War," 28 June 2018 The shelter, which received little public attention between its opening in 2016 and initial closing in April 2017, has been thrust into the middle of a fierce debate over the Trump administration's family separation policy. Aaron Leibowitz, miamiherald, "Harsh prison or cushy camp? Ex-staffers have different takes on life at Homestead shelter," 11 July 2018 So, what does Arcia do upon being thrust into action in the seventh inning after arriving with the game in progress? Tom Haudricourt, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "On a day when the bullpen finally slipped a bit, Brewers pulled out a satisfying victory," 30 May 2018 Instead of usual propellers, the ship is driven by three underwater Azipods, which provide thrust in any direction. David Hambling, Popular Mechanics, "Does the U.S. Stand a Chance Against Russia's Icebreakers?," 4 Apr. 2018 Guitarist Brown, bassist Miller and drummer Rummage thoroughly bought into the classic-swing syntax, providing chugging backbeats in some works, forward thrust in others. Howard Reich,, "Scott Hamilton and Harry Allen celebrate swing," 9 Feb. 2018

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about thrust

Phrases Related to thrust

cut and thrust

thrust on/upon

Statistics for thrust

Last Updated

14 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for thrust

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for thrust



English Language Learners Definition of thrust

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to push (someone or something) with force

: to cause (something sharp) to enter or go through something else by pushing

: to make a sudden, strong, forward movement at someone or something with a weapon



English Language Learners Definition of thrust (Entry 2 of 2)

: a forward or upward push

: the main point or meaning of something

: the main concern or purpose of something


\ ˈthrəst \
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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on thrust

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


by word of mouth

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Food Quiz

How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

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!