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Participle of thraw. Cognate with English thrown.



thrawn (comparative thrawner, superlative thrawnest)

  1. twisted, crooked, distorted, misshapen.
  2. (of mouth) wry, twisted with rage or pain.
  3. (of person) obstinate, stubborn, defiant, contrarian.
    • 1991, The Herald [1]
      Apart from the distinctively thrawn nature of our fellow citizens, how are we to explain the extraordinary switch in support to the SNP from Labour in our opinion poll on voting intentions for a Scottish parliament?
    • 2010, Kevin McKenna, The Guardian [2]
      Then an embossed card wafted through his letterbox last week and shattered his thrawn defiance of celebrity.
    • 2020, Ian McConnell, The Herald [3]
      The thrawn Tory Brexiters should heed words of Burns as they fly Union Flags [...] With every day that passes, the impression of the Brexiters as being utterly thrawn, to use a great Scots word, just keeps on growing.
    • 2020, Robin McKie, The Guardian [4]
      It is an extraordinary success story – and it was achieved by a small family firm whose members were notable because they were "stubborn, thrawn and as hard as nails", according to a newly published study of the Johnnie Walker blend.
    • 2021, Jan Prentice, The Herald [5]
      She achieved this through an astute mix of business acumen and pin-sharp organisational skills, to say nothing of thrawn dedication and dogged persuasiveness.
  4. (of person) surly, bad tempered
    • 1902, John Buchan, The Outgoing of the Tide
      And then she changed her voice and would be as saft as honey: 'My puir wee Ailie, was I thrawn till ye? Never mind, my bonnie. You and me are a' that's left, and we maunna be ill to ither.'
  5. (of weather) inclement

Usage notes[edit]

  • Used in standard Scots and Ulster Scots.
  • Used (mainly in Scotland) in Standard English most frequently in the sense "stubborn".





  1. Aspirate mutation of trawn.


Welsh mutation
radical soft nasal aspirate
trawn drawn nhrawn thrawn
Note: Some of these forms may be hypothetical. Not every
possible mutated form of every word actually occurs.