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From Old Norse þrysta, from Proto-Germanic *þrustijaną, possibly from Proto-Indo-European *trewd-.


  • IPA(key): /θɹʌst/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ʌst


thrust (countable and uncountable, plural thrusts)

  1. (fencing) An attack made by moving the sword parallel to its length and landing with the point.
    Pierre was a master swordsman, and could parry the thrusts of lesser men with barely a thought.
  2. A push, stab, or lunge forward (the act thereof.)
    The cutpurse tried to knock her satchel from her hands, but she avoided his thrust and yelled, "Thief!"
  3. The force generated by propulsion, as in a jet engine.
    Coordinate term: tractive effort
    Spacecraft are engineering marvels, designed to resist the thrust of liftoff, as well as the reverse pressure of the void.
  4. (figuratively) The primary effort; the goal.
    Ostensibly, the class was about public health in general, but the main thrust was really sex education.
    • 2023 February 11, Toby Helm, “Revealed: secret cross-party summit held to confront failings of Brexit”, in The Observer[1], →ISSN:
      “The main thrust of it was that Britain is losing out, that Brexit it not delivering, our economy is in a weak position,” said the source.


Derived terms[edit]



thrust (third-person singular simple present thrusts, present participle thrusting, simple past and past participle thrust or thrusted)

  1. (intransitive) To make advance with force.
    We thrust at the enemy with our forces.
  2. (transitive) To force something upon someone.
    I asked her not to thrust the responsibility on me.
    • 1957, Chung-cheng (Kai-shek) Chiang, “Introduction”, in Soviet Russia in China: A Summing-up at Seventy[2], New York: Farrar, Straus and Cudahy, →LCCN, →OCLC, page 7:
      It is my earnest hope that the bitter lessons China has learned may prove instructive to countries and governments, and especially those in Asia which now face the same threat of Communism. Often it is not easy for most people to realize the presence of this threat in their midst, and by the time they do, it may already be too late to prevent its thrusting them behind the Iron Curtain at least for a time.
  3. (transitive) To push out or extend rapidly or powerfully.
    He thrust his arm into the icy stream and grabbed a wriggling fish, astounding the observers.
    Towers thrusting skyward.
    • 1914, Louis Joseph Vance, chapter I, in Nobody, New York, N.Y.: George H[enry] Doran Company, published 1915, →OCLC:
      Three chairs of the steamer type, all maimed, comprised the furniture of this roof-garden, with [] on one of the copings a row of four red clay flower-pots filled with sun-baked dust from which gnarled and rusty stalks thrust themselves up like withered elfin limbs.
  4. (transitive) To push or drive with force; to shove.
    to thrust anything with the hand or foot, or with an instrument
  5. (intransitive) To enter by pushing; to squeeze in.
    • 1692, John Dryden, Cleomenes, the Spartan Hero:
      And thrust between my father and the god.
  6. To stab; to pierce; usually with through.


Derived terms[edit]