v. thrust, thrust·ing, thrusts
1. To push or drive quickly and forcefully: thrust a pole into the ground. See Synonyms at push.
2. To cause to project or extend: poplars thrusting their branches upward; thrust out his finger.
a. To force into a specified condition or situation: He was thrust into a position of awesome responsibility.
b. To force or impose on an unwilling or improper recipient: "Some have greatness thrust upon them" (Shakespeare).
4. Archaic To stab; pierce.
1. To shove something into or at something else: thrust at his opponent's chest with a foil.
2. To grow or extend upwards: "The cathedral ... thrust up suddenly, much taller than the surrounding houses" (Leonard Michaels).
3. To force one's way; press forward: "I watched a young hare thrust through periwinkle under the window" (Sam Pickering).
a. A forceful shove or push: inserted the key with a thrust.
b. A lunge or stab.
a. A driving force or pressure.
b. The forward-directed force developed in a jet or rocket engine as a reaction to the high-velocity rearward ejection of exhaust gases.
c. Outward or lateral stress in a structure, as that exerted by an arch or vault.
a. The essential meaning; the point: the general thrust of his remarks.
b. The central purpose or objective: The whole thrust of the project was to make money.
4. A forceful movement, especially an advance or attack by an armed force.
[Middle English thrusten, from Old Norse thrȳsta; see treud- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.