from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To beat the stems and husks of (grain or cereal plants) with a machine or flail to separate the grains or seeds from the straw.
  • transitive v. To separate (grains or seeds) in this manner.
  • transitive v. To discuss or examine (an issue, for example) repeatedly.
  • transitive v. To beat severely; thrash.
  • intransitive v. To use a machine or flail to separate grain or seeds from straw.
  • intransitive v. To thrash about; toss.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To separate the grain from the straw or husks by mechanical beating, with a flail or machinery.
  • v. To beat soundly, usually with some tool such as a stick or whip; to drub.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • v. Same as thrash.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • In wire-drawing, to raise (a wire rod or bar of small section) high in the air and throw it heavily against a flat smooth plate on the ground in order to straighten it or to loosen the scale and dirt.
  • To beat out or separate the grain or seeds from, by means of a flail or a threshing-machine, or by treading with oxen: in this sense commonly thresh.
  • To beat soundly, as with a stick or whip; drub; hence, to beat in any way: in this sense commonly thrash.
  • To practise threshing; beat out grain from straw with a flail or a threshing-machine: in this sense commonly thresh.
  • To beat about; labor; drudge; toil.
  • To throw one's self about; toss to and fro: usually with about: in this sense commonly thrash.
  • n. See thrash.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. give a thrashing to; beat hard
  • v. move like a flail; thresh about
  • v. beat the seeds out of a grain
  • v. move or stir about violently


Middle English thresshen, from Old English therscan; see terə-1 in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Old English þrescan. (Wiktionary)



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  • ...idyllic becomes fearful silence as I awake
    to you already arisen, the stready thresh
    and much nearer shadow of the quiet harvester.

    - Peter Reading, Combine, from For the Municipality's Elderly, 1974

    June 22, 2008