\ ˈthwȯrt How to pronounce thwart (audio) \
thwarted; thwarting; thwarts

Definition of thwart

 (Entry 1 of 4)

transitive verb

1a : to oppose successfully : defeat the hopes or aspirations of
b : to run counter to so as to effectively oppose or baffle : contravene
2 : to pass through or across


\ ˈthwȯrt How to pronounce thwart (audio) , nautical often ˈthȯrt \

Definition of thwart (Entry 2 of 4)



Definition of thwart (Entry 3 of 4)

: situated or placed across something else : transverse



Definition of thwart (Entry 4 of 4)

: a seat extending athwart a boat

Other Words from thwart


thwarter noun


thwartly adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for thwart

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Verb

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Choose the Right Synonym for thwart


frustrate, thwart, foil, baffle, balk mean to check or defeat another's plan or block achievement of a goal. frustrate implies making vain or ineffectual all efforts however vigorous or persistent. frustrated attempts at government reform thwart suggests frustration or checking by crossing or opposing. the army thwarted his attempt at a coup foil implies checking or defeating so as to discourage further effort. foiled by her parents, he stopped trying to see her baffle implies frustration by confusing or puzzling. baffled by the maze of rules and regulations balk suggests the interposing of obstacles or hindrances. officials felt that legal restrictions had balked their efforts to control crime

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Thwart and its synonyms foil and frustrate all suggest checking or defeating another's plan or preventing the achievement of a goal. Foil implies checking or defeating so as to discourage future efforts ("the police foiled the attempted robbery"), while frustrate suggests making all efforts, however vigorous or persistent, futile or ineffectual ("frustrated attempts at government reform"). Thwart usually indicates frustration caused by opposition ("the army thwarted an attempted coup").

Examples of thwart in a Sentence

Verb She did all she could to thwart his plans. The army thwarted the attempt at a coup.
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The jail currently houses around 500 inmates, some of whom are finding ways to thwart prison security systems such as door locks. Taylor Deville,, 10 Jan. 2022 In a welcome bit of a good news, Moderna announced on Monday that a booster shot of its coronavirus vaccine significantly raises the level of antibodies that can thwart the Omicron variant. New York Times, 20 Dec. 2021 In that spirit, some survivors have pressed to the highest court in the land for changes that might thwart another nightmare like theirs. Cnn Staff, CNN, 14 Dec. 2021 Whether the Texas law will survive multiple legal challenges, which could thwart other states’ plans to copy it. Alison Durkee, Forbes, 9 Dec. 2021 Merck and Ridgeback are seeking emergency-use authorization for their covid treatment, which would become the first easy-to-use pill to thwart the virus., 27 Nov. 2021 Thompson came up with a second-quarter turnover, intercepting a Terry Wilson Jr. pass at SDSU’s 1-yard line to thwart New Mexico’s best scoring opportunity just before halftime. San Diego Union-Tribune, 10 Oct. 2021 Nagy indicated after the game the Browns had mechanisms to thwart that. Brad Biggs,, 27 Sep. 2021 Meanwhile, opponents of the initiative are exploring avenues to thwart the effort. Clara Hendrickson, Detroit Free Press, 23 Sep. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Threats to fish: As The Times has reported, droughts thwart fish migration and destroy habitats. Justin Ray, Los Angeles Times, 21 June 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Since 1736, the noun thwart has referred to the pieces of wood or metal that reinforce the hulls of canoes and boats. Melissa Mohr, The Christian Science Monitor, 13 Dec. 2021 How much does the government's role thwart innovation to address actual on the ground issues? Roger Valdez, Forbes, 1 Sep. 2021 Luckily, this episode ends up being just as positive as the party was, after Justin and Griffin thwart Travis’s doldrums and move on to doling out free and funny advice. Pablo Goldstein, Vulture, 1 July 2021 Serving as captain of the maintop of the U.S.S. Pawnee in the attack upon Mathias Point, 26 June 1861, Williams told his men, while lying off in the boat, that every man must die on his thwart sooner than leave a man behind. Drew Broach | Staff Writer,, 10 Nov. 2020 Germany has previously had success with American intelligence information helping thwart plots, most notably in 2007 in stopping a plan to bomb the U.S. Air Force's Ramstein Air Base in southern Germany. David Rising, Fox News, 13 Sep. 2018 The center yoke thwart is perfectly balanced for one-person portages. The Editors, Outside Online, 18 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'thwart.' 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 thwart


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


14th century, in the meaning defined above


14th century, in the meaning defined above


circa 1736, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for thwart


Middle English thwerten, from thwert, adverb


Middle English thwert, from Old Norse thvert, from neuter of thverr transverse, oblique; akin to Old High German dwerah transverse, oblique


alteration of obsolete thought, thoft, from Middle English thoft, from Old English thofte; akin to Old High German dofta rower's seat

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

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Last Updated

19 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Thwart.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for thwart



English Language Learners Definition of thwart

: to prevent (someone) from doing something or to stop (something) from happening


\ ˈthwȯrt How to pronounce thwart (audio) \
thwarted; thwarting

Kids Definition of thwart

: to stop from happening or succeeding Police thwarted the crime.

More from Merriam-Webster on thwart

Nglish: Translation of thwart for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of thwart for Arabic Speakers


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