1

thwart

verb \ ˈthwȯrt \
Updated on: 16 Dec 2017

Definition of thwart

transitive verb
1 a : 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

thwarter

noun

thwart was our Word of the Day on 07/12/2013. Hear the podcast!

Examples of thwart in a Sentence

  1. She did all she could to thwart his plans.

  2. The army thwarted the attempt at a coup.

Recent Examples of thwart from the Web

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.

Did You Know?

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 ("foiled by her parents, he stopped trying to see her"), 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").

Origin and Etymology of thwart

Middle English thwerten, from thwert, adverb

Synonym Discussion of 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

2

thwart

adverb \ ˈthwȯrt , naut often ˈthȯrt \

Definition of thwart

Origin and Etymology of thwart

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

3

thwart

adjective

Definition of thwart

: situated or placed across something else : transverse

thwartly

adverb

First Known Use of thwart

14th century


4

thwart

noun

Definition of thwart

: a seat extending athwart a boat

Origin and Etymology of thwart

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

THWART Defined for English Language Learners

thwart

verb

Definition of thwart for English Language Learners

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


THWART Defined for Kids

thwart

verb \ ˈthwȯrt \

Definition of thwart for Students

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


Seen and Heard

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

allowing a liquid or gas to pass through

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Star Wars Words Quiz

  • cu-jedi-training
  • The bounty portion of bounty hunters (such as Boba Fett) comes from a Latin word meaning
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!