\ 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

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Synonyms for thrust

Synonyms: Verb

drive, propel, push, shove

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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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

As the issue of inclusion continues to be thrust into the spotlight, and more and more movies face backlash for incidents of whitewashing, hopefully Hollywood execs will take notice. De Elizabeth, Teen Vogue, "Penn Badgley Addressed the Need for More Representation in Hollywood," 22 Dec. 2018 Like Christopher Nolan’s 2017 World War II epic Dunkirk, the film simply thrusts viewers into the infantryman’s shoes and whisks them along on his terrifying journey through combat. Chuck Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "What You Need To Know Before Watching "They Shall Not Grow Old"," 28 Dec. 2018 Her decision to go public this week with the explosive accusation has thrust her into an uncomfortable spotlight and put her three-decade-old memories at the center of a fight over the fate of President Trump’s second Supreme Court nominee. Zusha Elinson, WSJ, "Portrait of Kavanaugh Accuser Christine Blasey Ford: Thorough, Guarded, Accomplished Academic," 19 Sep. 2018 Other folks got lucky, and celebrated by thrusting their hands in the air and doing happy dances. Barbara Henry,, "No lack of sugar-sweet fun at fair's theme building," 8 June 2018 The playoff neophytes have been thrust into tough environments, playing in Oklahoma City and Boston. Chris Fedor,, "How Larry Nance Jr. and Jordan Clarkson are approaching their first postseason appearance," 12 Apr. 2018 Another woman, Summer Zervos, said Trump groped and thrust his genitals against her during a meeting in 2007. Astead W. Herndon,, "Trump seems to have insulated himself from MeToo movement," 22 Feb. 2018 After passing a short driving test, Aljohara Alwabli, a 54-year-old retiree, thrust her arms into the air in the parking lot to celebrate. Fortune, "Saudi Arabia Is About to Let Women Drive. Here's Why Some Will Keep Their Driving Licenses a Secret," 22 June 2018 That culture will soon be thrust into the spotlight again. New York Times, "Energy Executive Admits Lying About ‘Low-Show Job’ for Percoco’s Wife," 11 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The main thrust of Cox’s advice is already known — the government released a 43-page document about it Monday in a bid to fend off the contempt motion. Raf Casert, The Seattle Times, "UK Parliament delivers rebuke to government over Brexit," 4 Dec. 2018 Unsurprisingly, so is the basic plot thrust of being yet another kid finally getting in on this monster-catching business. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Pokemon Let’s Go: Well, I guess my adult ass is going to collect them all," 16 Nov. 2018 So that’s twice the power, twice the thrust of the next biggest rocket. Eric Johnson, Recode, "Full Q&A: Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk on Recode Decode," 2 Nov. 2018 But again, the whole thrust of Leaders Club is exclusivity. Ryan Craggs, Condé Nast Traveler, "Leading Hotels of the World Just Improved Its Loyalty Program," 3 Oct. 2018 Some may give this verse a pass as a joke, and some put the thrust of the jab on the fact that Thug was stealing from Minaj’s closet, but there seems to be more at play here. Mikelle Street, Teen Vogue, "Nicki Minaj Is Being Accused of Queerphobia On Her New Album "Queen"," 13 Aug. 2018 The Falcon Heavy also contains 27 engines, giving the rocket a thrust of more than 5 million pounds, the equivalent of 18 Boeing 747 aircraft. Chris Ciaccia, Fox News, "China plans 'megarocket' that could outperform NASA, SpaceX, expert says," 3 July 2018 Since rekindling her relationship, subsequently marrying, and moving to Canada with Justin Bieber, Hailey Baldwin has been keenly thrust into the spotlight. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Hailey Baldwin Defends Her Relationship with Justin Bieber After Instagram Break," 9 Dec. 2018 This dynamic was thrust into the spotlight recently with news that six professional drivers in the city died by suicide over a period of 12 months in 2017 and 2018, including three taxi drivers who were struggling to make ends meet. Alexia Fernández Campbell, Vox, "New York City passes nation’s first minimum pay rate for Uber and Lyft drivers," 5 Dec. 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.

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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

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Statistics for thrust

Last Updated

19 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for thrust

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

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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

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More from Merriam-Webster on thrust

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with thrust

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for thrust

Spanish Central: Translation of thrust

Nglish: Translation of thrust for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of thrust for Arabic Speakers

Comments on thrust

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tremendous in size, volume, or degree

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