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[thrash] /θræʃ/
verb (used with object)
to beat soundly in punishment; flog.
to defeat thoroughly:
The home team thrashed the visitors.
Nautical. to force (a close-hauled sailing ship under heavy canvas) against a strong wind or sea.
verb (used without object)
to toss, or plunge about.
Nautical. to make way against the wind, tide, etc.; beat.
an act or instance of thrashing; beating; blow.
Swimming. the upward and downward movement of the legs, as in the crawl.
British Slang. a party, usually with drinks.
Verb phrases
thrash out/over, to talk over thoroughly and vigorously in order to reach a decision, conclusion, or understanding; discuss exhaustively.
Also, thresh out/over.
Origin of thrash
before 900; Middle English thrasshen, variant of thresshen to thresh
Related forms
unthrashed, adjective
well-thrashed, adjective
Can be confused
thrash, thresh.
1. maul, drub. See beat. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for thrash
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Did you fight for your country any the less, and thrash its enemies?

  • thrash that girl as if she were a bay boy, for she richly deserves it!

    Hidden Hand Emma Dorothy Eliza Nevitte Southworth
  • Hm, what satisfaction would it be to me to thrash someone that you have licked, Puss?

    Tabitha at Ivy Hall Ruth Alberta Brown
  • Did you give him over to the police, or thrash him soundly with your stick?

    The Rambles of a Rat A. L. O. E.
  • Why, would you believe it, I once walked twenty miles to thrash a fellow—just for fun.

    Step Lively! George Niblo
  • Now it was a place I came to when I had a problem to thrash out.

    Houlihan's Equation Walt Sheldon
  • Any man that tries to drag her into this affair will have to thrash me, or I'll thrash him, that's all.

    The Riddle of the Night Thomas W. Hanshew
British Dictionary definitions for thrash


(transitive) to beat soundly, as with a whip or stick
(transitive) to defeat totally; overwhelm
(intransitive) to beat or plunge about in a wild manner
(intransitive) to move the legs up and down in the water, as in certain swimming strokes
to sail (a boat) against the wind or tide or (of a boat) to sail in this way
another word for thresh
the act of thrashing; blow; beating
(informal) a party or similar social gathering
See also thrash out
Word Origin
Old English threscan; related to Old High German dreskan, Old Norse thriskja
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for thrash

1580s, "to separate grains from wheat, etc., by beating," dialectal variant of threshen (see thresh). Sense of "beat (someone) with (or as if with) a flail" is first recorded c.1600. Meaning "to make wild movements like those of a flail or whip" is attested from 1846. Related: Thrashed; thrashing. Type of fast heavy metal music first called by this name 1982.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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thrash in Technology

To move wildly or violently, without accomplishing anything useful. Paging or swapping systems that are overloaded waste most of their time moving data into and out of core (rather than performing useful computation) and are therefore said to thrash. Thrashing can also occur in a cache due to cache conflict or in a multiprocessor (see ping-pong).
Someone who keeps changing his mind (especially about what to work on next) is said to be thrashing. A person frantically trying to execute too many tasks at once (and not spending enough time on any single task) may also be described as thrashing.
Compare multitask.
[Jargon File]

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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