verb \ ˈthwȯrt \
Updated on: 15 Mar 2018

Definition of thwart

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



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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.

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



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




Definition of thwart

: situated or placed across something else : transverse



First Known Use of thwart

14th century




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


Definition of thwart for English Language Learners

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

THWART Defined for Kids


verb \ ˈthwȯrt \

Definition of thwart for Students

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

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a central unit of trained personnel

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