Synonym Chooser

How does the verb thwart differ from other similar words?

Some common synonyms of thwart are baffle, balk, foil, and frustrate. While all these words mean "to check or defeat another's plan or block achievement of a goal," thwart suggests frustration or checking by crossing or opposing.

the army thwarted his attempt at a coup

When is baffle a more appropriate choice than thwart?

The synonyms baffle and thwart are sometimes interchangeable, but baffle implies frustration by confusing or puzzling.

baffled by the maze of rules and regulations

When is it sensible to use balk instead of thwart?

The meanings of balk and thwart largely overlap; however, balk suggests the interposing of obstacles or hindrances.

officials felt that legal restrictions had balked their efforts to control crime

In what contexts can foil take the place of thwart?

In some situations, the words foil and thwart are roughly equivalent. However, foil implies checking or defeating so as to discourage further effort.

foiled by her parents, he stopped trying to see her

When could frustrate be used to replace thwart?

The words frustrate and thwart are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, frustrate implies making vain or ineffectual all efforts however vigorous or persistent.

frustrated attempts at government reform


Thesaurus Entries Near thwart

Cite this Entry

“Thwart.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Dec. 2023.

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