From Middle English thwert, a borrowing from Old Norse þvert (“across”), originally neut. of thverr (“transverse, across”), from Proto-Germanic *þwerhaz, altered or influenced by Proto-Germanic *þweraną (“to turn”), from Proto-Germanic *þerh-, from Proto-Indo-European *twork-, *twerk- (“to twist”). Cognates include Old English þweorh (“transverse, perverse, angry, cross”), Danish tvær, Gothic 𐌸𐍅𐌰𐌹𐍂𐍃 (þwaírs, “angry”), West Frisian dwers (“beyond, across, to the other side of”), Dutch dwars (“cross-grained, contrary”), Low German dwars (“cross-grained, contrary”), German quer (“crosswise; cross”). Related to queer.
- (transitive) To prevent; to cause to fail
The police thwarted the would-be assassin.
Our plans for a picnic were thwarted by the thunderstorm.
- ?1662 November 24th, Robert South, “Genesis i. 27. So God created Man in his own Image, in the Image of God created He him.” in Twelve Sermons Preached upon Several Occaſions (fifth edition, 1722), volume I, sermon ii, page 60:
- The Underſtanding and Will never diſagreed; for the Propoſals of the one never thwarted the Inclinations of the other.
1918, W. B. Maxwell, chapter 22, in The Mirror and the Lamp:
- Not unnaturally, “Auntie” took this communication in bad part. […] Next day she […] tried to recover her ward by the hair of the head. Then, thwarted, the wretched creature went to the police for help; she was versed in the law, and had perhaps spared no pains to keep on good terms with the local constabulary.
- 2004, Peter Bondanella, Hollywood Italians: Dagos, Palookas, Romeos, Wise Guys, and Sopranos, chapter 4, 231–232:
- The film ends with the colorful deaths of Nico's enemies after he thwarts their attempts to assassinate a U.S. Senator investigating ties between drug dealers and the CIA.
2011 December 10, David Ornstein, “Arsenal 1-0 Everton”, in BBC Sport:
- Everton were now firmly on the back foot and it required some sharp work from Johnny Heitinga and Phil Jagielka to thwart Walcott and Thomas Vermaelen.
- (obsolete) To move across or counter to; to cross.
An arrow thwarts the air.
- John Milton (1608-1674)
- Swift as a shooting star / In autumn thwarts the night.
thwart (plural thwarts)
- (nautical) A brace, perpendicular to the keel, that helps maintain the beam (breadth) of a marine vessel against external water pressure and that may serve to support the rail.
- A well made doughout canoe rarely needs a thwart.
- (nautical) A seat across a boat on which a rower may sit.
- The fisherman sat on the aft thwart to row.
- Situated or placed across something else; transverse; oblique.
- Moved contrary with thwart obliquities.
- William Morris
- ... wall of forty feet space endlong and over-thwart.
- (figuratively) Perverse; crossgrained.
- (Can we find and add a quotation of Shakespeare to this entry?)
- Francis Bacon
- And it is without all controversy, that learning doth make the minds of men gentle, generous, maniable, and pliant to government; whereas ignorance makes them churlish, thwart, and mutinous […]
thwart (not comparable)
- Obliquely; transversely; athwart.
- (Can we find and add a quotation of Milton to this entry?)