9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[throh] /θroʊ/
a violent spasm or pang; paroxysm.
a sharp attack of emotion.
  1. any violent convulsion or struggle:
    the throes of battle.
  2. the agony of death.
  3. the pains of childbirth.
Origin of throe
1150-1200; Middle English throwe, alteration of thrawe (-o- from Old English thrōwian to suffer, be in pain), Old English thrawu; cognate with Old Norse thrā (in līkthrā leprosy)
Can be confused
throe, throw.
3a. upheaval, tumult, chaos, turmoil. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for throes
  • Nearly everyone in the throes of a bad cold has temporarily been unable to smell a thing.
  • He says she's far more pleasant when she's in the throes of a new affair.
  • Now they have dozens of mature systems and dozens more in birth throes.
  • But a closer look reveals a city in the throes of transformation.
  • His corruption trial will begin in the throes of the general election.
  • But only a few years earlier he was in the throes of an inflammatory bowel disease known as ulcerative colitis.
  • In short, somebody in the dying throes of a week long, caffeine-fuelled coding session.
  • Now picture that same hotel in the throes of one of those conventions by which such hotels survive today.
  • The economy is in the throes of a gradual transition from state control to the free market.
  • The author, stone deaf and deep in the throes of an exhaust-note-inspired freak-out.
British Dictionary definitions for throes


plural noun
a condition of violent pangs, pain, or convulsions: death throes
in the throes of, struggling with great effort with: a country in the throes of revolution


(rare) a pang or pain
Word Origin
Old English thrāwu threat; related to Old High German drawa threat, Old Norse thrā desire, thrauka to endure
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 throes



c.1200, throwe "pain, pang of childbirth, agony of death," possibly from Old English þrawan "twist, turn, writhe" (see throw), or altered from Old English þrea (genitive þrawe) "affliction, pang, evil, threat" (related to þrowian "to suffer"), from Proto-Germanic *thrawo (cf. Middle High German dro "threat," German drohen "to threaten"). Modern spelling first recorded 1610s. Related: Throes.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with throes


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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