\ˈthwȯrt \
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, naut 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

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Other Words from thwart


thwarter noun


thwartly adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for thwart

Synonyms: Verb

baffle, balk, beat, checkmate, discomfit, foil, frustrate

Antonyms: Verb

advance, cultivate, encourage, forward, foster, further, nurture, promote

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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 ("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").

Examples of thwart in a Sentence


She did all she could to thwart his plans. The army thwarted the attempt at a coup.

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Having thwarted potential big rallies by the Cincinnati Reds in both the fifth and sixth innings, the Brewers went on to endure their worst inning of the season in the seventh. Todd Rosiak, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Reds 12, Brewers 3: Tight affair turns into laugher in seventh inning," 30 June 2018 And whose goalie, Marc-Andre Fleury, thwarted Ovechkin for years when Fleury was with the Penguins. Charlotte Wilder,, "The Stanley Cup Final Display is for Vegas Locals and Game 1 Gave Them Ultimate Show," 29 May 2018 Franz struggles to better himself, taking correspondence classes to get certified as a foreman, but his dream of climbing the social ladder is thwarted when management hires an outsider to fill the position. Ben Sachs, Chicago Reader, "When Rainer Werner Fassbinder cheered up," 17 May 2018 In early May to the National Rifle Association, Trump claimed that gun-toting Parisians could have thwarted Islamic State attackers at Paris’ Bataclan concert hall. Fox News, "Trump calls for 'changes to our thought process on terror' after Paris attack," 13 May 2018 And the United States has reportedly thwarted Iran’s desire to join ITER, the international experimental fusion research being built in France. Jeffrey Mervis, Science | AAAS, "Explainer: How will Trump’s withdrawal from Iran nuclear deal affect research?," 8 May 2018 Since Bitcoin debuted nearly a decade ago, trailblazing women have stormed the cryptocurrency world with visions of redefining finance, thwarting poverty, and toppling the patriarchal power structure. Liz Brody, Glamour, "How Cryptocurrency May Be Harmful to Women—on the Dark Web and Beyond," 7 May 2018 Of those isolates, about 25 percent produced carbapenem-thwarting enzymes called carbapenemases. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "“Nightmare” superbugs continue to lurk in US, but control efforts working," 4 Apr. 2018 In 2014, law enforcement there complained that biker gang use of the phones had thwarted their investigation into two killings. Kristina Davis,, "FBI bust aims to shut drug traffickers out of their super-encrypted communication networks," 15 Mar. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The center yoke thwart is perfectly balanced for one-person portages. The Editors, Outside Online, "REI Is Having an Huge Sale on Water Sports Gear," 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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Statistics for thwart

Last Updated

10 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for thwart

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

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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 \
thwarted; thwarting

Kids Definition of thwart

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

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Comments on thwart

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


to reject or criticize sharply

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