thwart

1 of 4

verb

thwarted; thwarting; thwarts

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

2 of 4

adverb

ˈthwȯrt How to pronounce thwart (audio)
 nautical often  ˈthȯrt

thwart

3 of 4

adjective

: situated or placed across something else : transverse
thwartly adverb

thwart

4 of 4

noun

: a seat extending athwart a boat

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 ("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").

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

Example Sentences

Verb She did all she could to thwart his plans. The army thwarted the attempt at a coup.
Recent Examples on the Web
Verb
Eight Republicans joined all 11 Democrats in voting against the bill, though their reasons to thwart the measure were mixed. Arleigh Rodgers, Anchorage Daily News, 6 Aug. 2022 Eight Republicans joined all 11 Democrats in voting against the bill, though their reasons to thwart the measure were mixed. Orlando Sentinel, 6 Aug. 2022 Eight Republicans joined all 11 Democrats in voting against the bill, though their reasons to thwart the measure were mixed. Arleigh Rodgers, Chicago Tribune, 5 Aug. 2022 To thwart them, the staff faked a Covid-19 outbreak, hid equipment and spied for Ukrainian forces. Ian Lovett, WSJ, 25 Nov. 2022 That measure, known as Amendment C, was widely considered an effort by opponents of Medicaid expansion to thwart it. Sheryl Gay Stolberg, New York Times, 3 Nov. 2022 The left side of her skull had been crushed, her head nearly severed and her hands removed, which police believed was an attempt to thwart them from identifying her. Jonathan Edwards, Washington Post, 1 Nov. 2022 Layered and multidimensional, her characters’ quirks and strivings shine a light on the wrongs that wound and thwart them. Meredith Maran, Los Angeles Times, 18 Oct. 2022 Unsurprisingly, hateful gods, sorceresses and witches are determined to thwart them. San Diego Union-Tribune, 18 Sep. 2022
Adjective
Threats to fish: As The Times has reported, droughts thwart fish migration and destroy habitats. Justin Ray, Los Angeles Times, 21 June 2021
Noun
Senior executives of JetBlue Airways and Southwest Airlines argued in court Wednesday over JetBlue's controversial partnership with American Airlines that the Biden administration is seeking the thwart. David Koenig, ajc, 28 Sep. 2022 Finally, a debris particle large enough and traceable to an impact with a SpaceX satellite would have to happen upon a collision course with Viasat's satellite, remain undetected, and thwart satellite protocols to avoid collisions. Jon Brodkin, Ars Technica, 29 Aug. 2022 Intrepid girls outwit rogues, thwart empires, and rescue abused and vulnerable animals in four novels for readers ages 10 to 14. Meghan Cox Gurdon, WSJ, 6 May 2022 An outfitter named Craig had rented me the 15-foot canoe with a broken thwart, splintering gunwales, and the tanker toilet. Florence Williams, Outside Online, 1 Feb. 2022 English borrowed thwart from Old Norse around the 12th century. Melissa Mohr, The Christian Science Monitor, 13 Dec. 2021 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 See More

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.

Word History

Etymology

Verb

Middle English thwerten, from thwert, adverb

Adverb

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

Noun

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

First Known Use

Verb

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

Adverb

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Adjective

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Noun

circa 1736, in the meaning defined above

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

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Dictionary Entries Near thwart

Cite this Entry

“Thwart.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/thwart. Accessed 29 Jan. 2023.

Kids Definition

thwart

1 of 4 verb
1
: to stand in the way of : hinder by opposing
she thwarted me at every opportunity
2
: to defeat the hopes, desires, or plans of
the goalie thwarted their attempts to score
thwarter noun

thwart

2 of 4 adverb

thwart

3 of 4 adjective
: situated or placed across something else

thwart

4 of 4 noun
: a rower's seat extending across a boat

More from Merriam-Webster on thwart

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