transitive verb \ˈthwrt\

: to prevent (someone) from doing something or to stop (something) from happening

Full Definition of THWART

a :  to run counter to so as to effectively oppose or baffle :  contravene
b :  to oppose successfully :  defeat the hopes or aspirations of
:  to pass through or across
thwart·er noun

Origin of THWART

Middle English thwerten, from thwert, adverb
First Known Use: 13th century

Synonym Discussion of 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>.


adverb \ˈthwrt, nautical often ˈthrt\

Definition of THWART

:  athwart

Origin of THWART

Middle English thwert, from Old Norse thvert, from neuter of thverr transverse, oblique; akin to Old High German dwerah transverse, oblique
First Known Use: 14th century



Definition of THWART

:  situated or placed across something else :  transverse
thwart·ly adverb

First Known Use of THWART

14th century



Definition of THWART

:  a seat extending athwart a boat

Origin of THWART

alteration of obsolete thought, thoft, from Middle English thoft, from Old English thofte; akin to Old High German dofta rower's seat
First Known Use: circa 1736
THWART Defined for Kids


verb \ˈthwrt\

Definition of THWART for Kids

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


Next Word in the Dictionary: thwartedlyPrevious Word in the Dictionary: thwaite All Words Near: thwart
How to use a word that (literally) drives some people nuts.
Test your vocab with our fun, fast game
Ailurophobia, and 9 other unusual fears