thresh

To thresh is to harvest seeds from grain by beating or crushing it. Before the invention of machines to do this task, it took a huge amount of time to thresh grain by hand.

To make this tedious task go faster, farmers used to thresh in groups, throwing threshing bees where neighbors worked together. Special sticks called flails were used to beat the seeds out of the grain, and it took about an hour to thresh a bushel of wheat. The threshing machine was invented in the late 1700s, and today most farmers thresh using a combine harvester, which harvests and threshes the grain right in the field.

Definitions of thresh
  1. verb
    beat the seeds out of a grain
    synonyms: thrash
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    type of:
    beat
    hit repeatedly
  2. verb
    give a thrashing to; beat hard
    synonyms: flail, lam, thrash
    annihilate, bat, clobber, cream, drub, lick, thrash
    beat thoroughly and conclusively in a competition or fight
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    type of:
    beat, beat up, work over
    give a beating to; subject to a beating, either as a punishment or as an act of aggression
  3. verb
    move or stir about violently
    synonyms: convulse, jactitate, slash, thrash, thrash about, thresh about, toss
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    types:
    whip
    thrash about flexibly in the manner of a whiplash
    type of:
    agitate, shake
    move or cause to move back and forth
  4. verb
    move like a flail; thresh about
    synonyms: flail
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    type of:
    beat, flap
    move with a flapping motion
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