\ 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

Keep scrolling for more

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 On came Martin Odegaard, a player who similarly moves the ball on quickly and provides Arsenal with forward thrust, a sign that the club have some depth in their squad. Samindra Kunti, Forbes, "Grit, Resilience And Victory. Is This The New Arsenal?," 28 Feb. 2021 New Shepard is powered by Blue Origin's BE-3 engine, which generates 110,000 pounds of thrust upon launch. Jennifer Leman, Popular Mechanics, "LIVE: Watch Blue Origin Launch Its New Shepard Rocket," 14 Jan. 2021 The narrative thrust hangs on the hook of a seemingly ordinary American family ending up in a situation that’s anything but, and the enterprise is to figure out what exactly happened. Nicholas Quah, Vulture, "The Big Loop, I’m Not a Monster, and 3 More Podcasts Worth Trying," 5 Jan. 2021 The 6-foot-5, 305-pound Ford wound up being the only freshman thrust into the starting lineup, and coach Clay Helton said after the game that the veterans up front took him under their wing. Ryan Kartje, Los Angeles Times, "USC’s offensive line flashes its future against Washington State," 6 Dec. 2020 Blue Origin has completed four test fires of the BE-7′s thrust chamber there. Lee Roop |, al, "Watch Blue Origin test its moon lander engine in Alabama," 4 Dec. 2020 Now some of these sisters have been thrust into the public eye, as details about their names, ages and lifetimes of work are being highlighted as part of the national discourse about Americans lost to the coronavirus. New York Times, "‘It’s Numbing’: Nine Retired Nuns in Michigan Die of Covid-19," 29 Jan. 2021 When school closures thrust Oregon families and educators into distance learning, few had experience with it. oregonlive, "2020 in review: The 8 Oregon education stories that defined the year," 31 Dec. 2020 The rematch between Ossoff and Perdue, as well as one between Raphael Warnock and GOP Sen. Kelly Loeffler, has thrust Georgia into the center of the nation's political fray. Barnini Chakraborty, Washington Examiner, "Jon Ossoff: The former John Lewis intern who could be Democrats' best hope in Georgia in years," 15 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Each engine develops in excess of 30,000 pounds of thrust. Thomas E. Stimson, Popular Mechanics, "Remembering the B-70: The Weird Supersonic Bomber That Never Was," 11 Feb. 2021 That’s small compared with the 1.2 million pounds of thrust used to launch the Space Shuttle or the 1.9 million pounds on SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket. Dallas News, "Firehawk Aerospace wants to 3-D print rocket fuel and is moving to Dallas to join the space race," 4 Feb. 2021 Though the guitars, by Eddie Green and Sean Coyle-Smith, are jagged, punishing and occasionally disarmingly melodic, the ear keeps returning to the forward thrust of Josh Finerty’s bass and Charlie Forbes’s drums. Mark Richardson, WSJ, "‘Drunk Tank Pink’ by Shame Review: Alienation With a South London Accent," 11 Jan. 2021 Beyond all these improvements, the F-15 will be the first Air Force fighter in history to have a thrust-to-weight ratio of more than 1-to-1. Kevin Brown, Popular Mechanics, "A Fighter Pilot's Fighter Plane: PM Meets the F-15," 19 Nov. 2020 Much of the thrust of the new regulations is directed at Vermonters themselves, since the state traced the recent spike to residents, not visitors. New York Times, "Vermont’s Ski Season, on the Brink," 19 Nov. 2020 Other key defense areas, such as the size of the military, the thrust of the National Defense Strategy, and the emphasis on new technologies, will remain, O’Hanlon believes. Abraham Mahshie, Washington Examiner, "Michele Flournoy, in line to be first female defense secretary, may be forced by Biden to shrink DOD," 11 Nov. 2020 Such a boost allows the follower to cut down on engine thrust, fuel use and emissions. Dhananjay Khadilkar, Scientific American, "Birdlike Flight Formations Could Cut Airline Emissions," 11 Nov. 2020 The central thrust of American government, as articulated in the Declaration and legally embodied in the Constitution, is that the work of governance is meant to be a bottom-up, democratic affair, not the top-down rule of monarchy or aristocracy. Thomas Koenig, National Review, "The Administrative State: Who Makes the Rules?," 29 Sep. 2020

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

Time Traveler for thrust

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for thrust

Last Updated

2 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Thrust.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Mar. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLA Chicago APA Merriam-Webster

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 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

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).


Test Your Vocabulary

February 2021 Words of the Day Quiz

  • squirrel in winter
  • Which is a synonym of perdure?
True or False

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

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!