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thor·​ough ˈthər-(ˌ)ō How to pronounce thorough (audio)
 sometimes  ˈthȯr-;
: carried through to completion : exhaustive
a thorough search
: marked by full detail
a thorough description
: careful about detail : painstaking
a thorough scholar
: complete in all respects
thorough pleasure
: having full mastery (as of an art)
a thorough musician
thoroughness noun


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Examples of thorough in a Sentence

Adjective … one realized that it was the restaurant's thorough and even comic Frenchness that had made it so entirely New York. Adam Gopnik, New Yorker, 22 Mar. 2004
Bruce tells me to squat down and Koani sidles up, ears flattened, tail tucked away, and gives my face a thorough licking. Nicholas Evans, Daily Telegraph, 26 Sept. 1998
The job was uncharacteristically thorough for a Russian contract killing—three different types of bullets riddled Mikho's body. New Republic, 15 Dec. 1997
a thorough understanding of the rules and regulations The investigator will have to be thorough.
Recent Examples on the Web
However, each scale had a limitation, so the moment magnitude scale was developed as a more thorough and uniformly applicable measure for earthquakes. Kerry Breen, CBS News, 5 Apr. 2024 Gallant's office also provided a summary of the call, noting that Gallant expressed his sorrow over the attack and assured Austin that a thorough investigation was being conducted. NBC News, 5 Apr. 2024 Consulting healthcare professionals and conducting thorough research can assist individuals in making informed choices and understanding the potential interactions or contraindications associated with CBD oil. Cbd Scout, Discover Magazine, 3 Apr. 2024 Screening process: Once potential candidates are identified, the production team conducts a thorough screening process to assess the suitability of the bar for the show. The Arizona Republic, 2 Apr. 2024 The Los Angeles County medical examiner has ruled a 16-year-old girl’s death from blunt force head trauma an accident, raising questions from her family about how thorough and conclusive officials have been with the case. Grace Toohey, Los Angeles Times, 30 Mar. 2024 Try mixing the blueberries with a splash of lemon juice first, then tossing into flour for a thorough coating. Pam Lolley, Southern Living, 30 Mar. 2024 After a thorough birding session, those in search of further shorebird diversity can make their way to the sprawling Lake Bastrop, with a dedicated North Shore Park and South Shore Park in place to aid in the birding process. Jared Ranahan, Forbes, 28 Mar. 2024 Increasingly, the early years of baseball became his main area of research and led to his 2011 book, Baseball in the Garden of Eden: The Secret History of the Early Game, an exceptionally thorough work, written in a breezy style and filled with innumerably delightful and surprising facts. Frederic J. Frommer, Smithsonian Magazine, 28 Mar. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'thorough.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Preposition, Adjective, and Adverb

Middle English thorow, from Old English thurh, thuruh, preposition & adverb

First Known Use


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of thorough was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near thorough

Cite this Entry

“Thorough.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


: marked by or carried out to completion : exhaustive
a thorough search
: careful about detail
a thorough worker
thoroughly adverb
thoroughness noun


Middle English thorow "thorough," from Old English thuruh, thurh "through" — related to thrill, through see Word History at thrill

More from Merriam-Webster on thorough

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