verb (used with object)

  1. to separate the grain or seeds from (a cereal plant or the like) by some mechanical means, as by beating with a flail or by the action of a threshing machine.
  2. to beat as if with a flail.

verb (used without object)

  1. to thresh wheat, grain, etc.
  2. to deliver blows as if with a flail.


  1. the act of threshing.

Verb Phrases

  1. thresh out/over. thrash(def 12).


  1. to beat or rub stalks of ripe corn or a similar crop either with a hand implement or a machine to separate the grain from the husks and straw
  2. (tr) to beat or strike
  3. (intr often foll by about) to toss and turn; thrash


  1. the act of threshing

v.Old English þrescan, þerscan “to beat, sift grain by trampling or beating,” from Proto-Germanic *threskanan “to thresh,” originally “to tread, to stamp noisily” (cf. Middle Dutch derschen, Dutch dorschen, Old High German dreskan, German dreschen, Old Norse þreskja, Gothic þriskan), from PIE root *tere- “to rub, turn” (see throw). The basic notion is of treading out wheat under foot of men or oxen, later, with the advent of the flail, the word acquired its modern extended sense of “to knock, beat, strike.” The original Germanic sense is suggested by the use of the word in Romanic languages that borrowed it, e.g. Italian trescare “to prance,” Old French treschier “to dance,” Spanish triscar “to stamp the feet.”

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