\ 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 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 for thrust

Synonyms: Verb

drive, propel, push, shove

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

While not match fit, Holding's could be thrust back into an Arsenal side that have conceded six goals already this season, with neither Sokratis Papastathopoulos or David Luiz covering themselves in glory so far with a series of defensive errors., "Arsenal Handed Rob Holding Injury Boost Ahead of Premier League Clash With Watford," 11 Sep. 2019 Nor is there a good reason that such a time-suck should be thrust upon American voters as the only viable way to understand how the future president of the United States plans to handle the most pressing issue facing the world. Nick Martin, The New Republic, "A Seven-Hour Case for a Real Climate Debate," 5 Sep. 2019 The veteran served out the match with an ace down the middle and thrust her arms in the air before congratulating a worthy opponent at the net to huge cheers from the capacity crowd. CNN, "Serena Williams reaches Wimbledon semifinals," 9 July 2019 His current hot streak has thrust him into the NL MVP debate. Steve Gardner, USA TODAY, "Braves' Ronald Acuña Jr. benched for not hustling vs. Dodgers," 18 Aug. 2019 Some works achieve greatness, to borrow a phrase, while others have greatness thrust upon them. Murray Whyte,, "‘The Forty Part Motet’ strikes a perfect note at the Clark Art Institute," 15 Aug. 2019 The debates have thrust Detroit into a national spotlight and drawn reporters from all over the country. Ann Zaniewski, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit in spotlight for Democratic presidential debate," 29 July 2019 The relief corps has thrusted the Giants into the hunt in the National League Wild Card race and ahead of the trade deadline, the bullpen is the talk of baseball. Kerry Crowley, The Mercury News, "‘Playing with house money,’ Giants have flipped the script before trade deadline," 27 July 2019 The scandal has thrust the hobby into chaos as casual and serious collectors alike review their stockpiles of cards to search for potentially damaged goods that may be worth significantly less than what they were purchased for., "Baseball card collectors suspect rampant fraud in their hobby," 19 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Practically eclipsed in the raucous atmosphere was any debate over Conte’s main policy thrust — a government focused on economic growth and determined to keep Europe united. Washington Post, "Italy’s Conte wins first confidence vote in Parliament," 10 Sep. 2019 In 2010, a spate of suicides at Chinese factories owned by Foxconn — a Taiwanese electronics maker and longtime Apple partner — thrust both companies into the spotlight. Michelle Toh, CNN, "Apple says a supplier's factory in China violated labor rules," 9 Sep. 2019 The two days’ worth of news thrust Omar’s private life from the realm of British tabloid to the fore of mainstream media — and prompted a formal complaint to the Federal Election Commission. Dave Orrick, The Mercury News, "Ilhan Omar under scrutiny: Her marriage, her campaign finances, a death threat," 29 Aug. 2019 The two days’ worth of news thrust Omar’s private life from the realm of British tabloid to the fore of mainstream media — and prompted a formal complaint to the Federal Election Commission. Dave Orrick, Twin Cities, "Ilhan Omar under scrutiny: First marriage, then fidelity, now a federal campaign complaint. And a State Fair death threat.," 28 Aug. 2019 How Brissett will handle this sudden weight thrust upon him remains to be seen. Jim Ayello, Indianapolis Star, "Insider: Andrew Luck retired. It really happened. So what's next for the Colts?," 25 Aug. 2019 Two years ago, the brutality of the Myanmar military thrust our plight into the global spotlight. Tun Khin, Time, "It's Been Two Years Since 730,000 Rohingya Were Forced to Flee. There's No End in Sight to the Crisis," 25 Aug. 2019 On August 4, a tragic mass shooting that left 10 dead and 27 injured thrust Dayton into the news. National Geographic, "Visit America’s newest adventure capital," 22 Aug. 2019 Whilst he was frustrated at the over-reliance thrust upon him at Stoke, his enthusiasm towards the collective mentality at Liverpool is reportedly waning., "Xherdan Shaqiri: From Relegation to Champions League Winner in 4 Short Premier League Years," 11 Aug. 2019

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

Statistics for thrust

Last Updated

14 Sep 2019

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 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

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

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


one from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
True or False

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


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!