Thwart refers to the act of preventing or obstructing the successful completion or realization of something, often through deliberate actions or efforts. It involves frustrating someone’s plans, desires, or intentions by impeding their progress or forward movement. Thwart can also be used as a verb, meaning to obstruct, hinder, or counteract someone’s goals or objectives.


US English

UK English

Part of Speech

verb or noun


obstruct, hinder, impede, block, frustrate, foil, sabotage, counteract, stymie, hamper


assist, facilitate, help, support, promote, encourage

Word Forms

Part of Speech Words
Noun thwarter, thwarting, thwart, thwarts, thwartings, thwarters
Verb thwarted, thwarting, thwarts, thwart
Adjective thwarting
Adverb None

Example Sentences

  • The detective’s clever tactics were able to thwart the criminals’ elaborate heist plan.

  • Despite their best efforts, the team’s defensive strategy failed to thwart the opposing team’s skilled offense.

  • The heavy fog came in unexpectedly, thwarting our plans for a clear hike up the mountain.

  • The strict security measures in place did little to thwart the determined hacker from gaining unauthorized access to the company’s database.


The word “thwart” has been in use in the English language since the 13th century. It originated from the Old Norse word “thverta,” which means to twist or turn. This root meaning is still evident in the modern usage of thwart, as it often involves the idea of disrupting or twisting someone’s plans or progress.

“Thwart” can be used both as a verb and a noun. As a verb, it describes the action of obstructing or frustrating someone’s efforts. For example, you may thwart someone’s attempt to cheat by implementing strict monitoring measures. As a noun, “thwart” refers to a seat or a rower’s seat in a boat positioned crosswise, obstructing the movement of a rower.

“Thwart” is a versatile word that can be applied to various contexts. It is commonly used in situations where there is an intentional act of preventing or obstructing success, progress, or fulfillment. For instance, a well-planned security system can thwart burglars, or unexpected weather conditions can thwart outdoor activities.

One interesting aspect of the word “thwart” is that it can also take on prefixes or suffixes to slightly alter its meaning. The prefix “un-” can be added to create the word “unthwarted,” meaning not hindered or obstructed. On the other hand, the suffix “-ing” can be added to form “thwarting,” which describes the ongoing action of obstructing or counteracting someone’s goals.

In summary, “thwart” is a dynamic word that is versatile in its usage. It captures the essence of frustrating or hindering someone’s progress or intentions. Whether used as a verb or a noun, it remains a practical and descriptive term, expressing the idea of obstruction and opposition.