"You canker blossom!" 3 Shakespearean Insults


[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.
Origin of thresh
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. 2015.
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Examples from the web for threshing
  • The chopped material is either cured for later threshing or the herbage and seeds are broad- cast together at time of planting.
  • In some villages there are still coin-operated threshing machines next to neon coffee-vending machines.
  • When threshing was over, new straw would be spread and the carpet tacked down again.
  • From ancient times it has been understood that one should not muzzle an ox while it is threshing.
  • At each site, a long handled threshing rake was used to collect the aquatic plants.
  • Our emphasis is to produce high-yielding, lodging resistant cultivars that are also free-threshing.
  • One-third of these fatalities involved balers, combines, and other harvesting and threshing machines.
  • The bundles are allowed to dry for threshing later by a combine with a pickup attachment.
  • threshing machines were a particular target, and rick burning was a popular activity.
British Dictionary definitions for threshing


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 threshing



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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threshing in the Bible
Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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