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[thresh] /θrɛʃ/
verb (used with object)
to separate the grain or seeds from (a cereal plant or the like) by some mechanical means, as by beating with a flail or by the action of a threshing machine.
to beat as if with a flail.
verb (used without object)
to thresh wheat, grain, etc.
to deliver blows as if with a flail.
the act of threshing.
Verb phrases
thresh out/over. thrash (def 12).
Also, thrash.
before 900; Middle English threschen, thresshen, Old English threscan; cognate with German dreschen, Gothic thriskan; akin to Dutch dorsen, Old Norse thriskja
Related forms
rethresh, verb (used with object)
unthreshed, adjective
Can be confused
thrash, thresh. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for threshed
  • After the grain had ripened sufficiently in the shocks, it was ready to be threshed so that the farmer could sell it.
  • Wheat is threshed in an antique machine several times a day.
  • Grains are first cut, without being threshed, and left to dry in windrows for several days or longer.
  • Three heads were selected, at random, from each row and individually manually threshed and stored in labelled envelopes.
  • If grown for seed it is mowed and threshed when ripe in late summer.
  • Nobody sprayed apple trees, and grain was threshed on the barn floors.
  • Seed from all the spikes collected at a site were threshed and the seed was bulked.
  • Bundles of rice were left to dry in the field, and then these were threshed with steam operated machines.
  • He threshed the wheat with a steam traction engine and separator.
  • Once immature seeds receive a slight and slow desiccation treatment, they can be threshed with less damage.
British Dictionary definitions for threshed


to beat or rub stalks of ripe corn or a similar crop either with a hand implement or a machine to separate the grain from the husks and straw
(transitive) to beat or strike
(intransitive) often foll by about. to toss and turn; thrash
the act of threshing
Word Origin
Old English threscan; related to Gothic thriskan, Old Norse thriskja; see thrash
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 threshed



Old English þrescan, þerscan "to beat, sift grain by trampling or beating," from Proto-Germanic *threskanan "to thresh," originally "to tread, to stamp noisily" (cf. Middle Dutch derschen, Dutch dorschen, Old High German dreskan, German dreschen, Old Norse þreskja, Gothic þriskan), from PIE root *tere- "to rub, turn" (see throw).

The basic notion is of treading out wheat under foot of men or oxen, later, with the advent of the flail, the word acquired its modern extended sense of "to knock, beat, strike." The original Germanic sense is suggested by the use of the word in Romanic languages that borrowed it, e.g. Italian trescare "to prance," Old French treschier "to dance," Spanish triscar "to stamp the feet."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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