\ ˈthwȯrt How to pronounce thwart (audio) \
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 How to pronounce thwart (audio) , nautical 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

Antonyms: Verb

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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

Verb She did all she could to thwart his plans. The army thwarted the attempt at a coup.
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Democrats had hoped these elections reforms would help them on the 2022 campaign trail and thwart partisan gerrymandering of congressional districts. Los Angeles Times, 20 Oct. 2021 So the team is assembled for a mission to enter Berlin and thwart a German plan to establish a Fourth Reich. Mike Snider, USA TODAY, 17 Oct. 2021 One key area that has the power to either thwart hackers or inadvertently invite them in is marketing. Becca Chambers, Forbes, 23 Sep. 2021 Edward Lindsey, a former state representative who co-chairs the anti-cityhood group Committee for a United Atlanta, said voters need to focus on the upcoming election to select leaders who can immediately address crime and thwart the movement. Anjali Huynh, ajc, 20 Sep. 2021 Even in the Bay Area, many more people need to be vaccinated to reach a level of community immunity to not only end the delta surge but thwart future waves. Erin Allday, Kate Galbraith, San Francisco Chronicle, 10 Sep. 2021 States that want to succeed in enacting laws that actually thwart the rise of critical race theory and its adjacent philosophies must consider legal remedies that are both productive and constitutionally sound. William A. Jacobson, National Review, 30 Aug. 2021 But conservatives have used similar tactics to thwart the feminist movement and to notch victories in the culture wars on American campuses. John Blake, CNN, 12 July 2021 Legal experts said the court order had effectively ended Mr. Trump’s legal quest, and further attempts to thwart the subpoena could undermine his defense. New York Times, 22 Feb. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Threats to fish: As The Times has reported, droughts thwart fish migration and destroy habitats. Justin Ray, Los Angeles Times, 21 June 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun 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 Serving as captain of the maintop of the U.S.S. Pawnee in the attack upon Mathias Point, 26 June 1861, Williams told his men, while lying off in the boat, that every man must die on his thwart sooner than leave a man behind. Drew Broach | Staff Writer,, 10 Nov. 2020 Germany has previously had success with American intelligence information helping thwart plots, most notably in 2007 in stopping a plan to bomb the U.S. Air Force's Ramstein Air Base in southern Germany. David Rising, Fox News, 13 Sep. 2018 The center yoke thwart is perfectly balanced for one-person portages. The Editors, Outside Online, 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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Time Traveler for thwart

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

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Last Updated

22 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Thwart.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Oct. 2021.

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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 How to pronounce thwart (audio) \
thwarted; thwarting

Kids Definition of thwart

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

More from Merriam-Webster on thwart

Nglish: Translation of thwart for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of thwart for Arabic Speakers


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