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Frequency (in current use):
Origin: Formed within English, by derivation. Etymons: ,
Instances of this verb dating from before the development of modern conventions of word division are difficult to distinguish from those of . Compare the following examples from early modern texts, which probably show the phrasal verb with word order dictated by the demands of rhyme and metre:
1600 E. Fairfax tr. Tasso Godfrey of Bulloigne xviii. lxxi. 329
Meane-while below With iron fronts the rammes the walles downe throw.
a1729 E. Taylor Metrical Hist. Christianity
The Earth..Great Constantine's Attili Gate down threw.
1751 M. Mendez Seasons Summer 10
Wanton Colin, full of am'rous Play, Down throweth Susan, who doth shriek for Dread.
1. transitive. To throw or drop (something) in a downward direction, to knock (a person) to the ground. Also fig.: to bring down (a person) from a position of high standing, to overthrow (a ruler, an institution, etc.). Now rare (chiefly poet. in later use).
1563 W. Baldwin et al.
Downthrow we strayt his sellie nephewes twaye, from princes pompe, to woful prisoners lyfe.
1581 N. Burne f. 43v
Inducing subiectis to oppres and dounthrau thair maisters.
1612 H. Ainsworth lxxviii. 204/2
When Gods ire Came up against them, & their fatt-men slew: and choyse-yong-men of Israel, down-threw.
a1861 D. Grey
At the breathless nerve-dissolving noon, When hot the undiminished sun downthrows Direct his beams, they from the field retire.
1893 G. Musgrave tr. Dante xxx. 195
One of them..Its tusklike fangs deep-plunging in his nape, Downthrew him.
1974 28 May 17/2
She..could not have believed, one June day ago, love would now downthrow her sweet studied mask of quietness by which he was deceived.
2. intransitive. Geology. Of a fault: to exhibit a downthrow in a particular location, direction, etc. (see ). Also transitive: to displace (strata, rock, etc.) downwards at a fault.
1849 J. E. Portlock iii. 51
The bed a has been first up-thrown along the line or fault d f to a1, and subsequently down-thrown along the fault f h to a2.
1924 W. B. Wright iii. 21
The Ballycastle Coalfield is divided in two by an east and west fault known as the Great Gaw, downthrowing to the north.
1954 J. F. Kirkaldy xv. 220
One view of the African Rift is that it was formed by tension, the bounding faults being normal faults hading and downthrowing towards the valley.
1975 25 Sept. 300/2
During the Cretaceous,..the South African continent was subjected to strong vertical movements, resulting in peripheral faults downthrowing 18,000 m towards the contiguous ocean basins.
1991 R. P. Randel & R. W. Johnson
(Nairobi, Mines & Geol. Dept.)
Faulting then occurred, downthrowing the Kirikiti Basalts.
2015 A. Racey & M. F. Ridd iv. 36/2
NE–SW-trending normal cross-faults with throws of several hundred feet are common, mostly downthrowing to the north.
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This entry has been updated (OED Third Edition, December 2018).
In other dictionaries:
- My entries(1)
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