4.04.2012

Throws vs. throes

The copy editor is in.
I'm presenting occasional posts on the use of English,
not to be pedantic but just for the fun of language.

A shotputter of ANA's track & field team

If you're enduring something, you're in the throes of it. If you've got a ball or a horseshoe, you can practice your throws.

They're pronounced the same, but one's spelled so much more interestingly.

A throe refers to writhing, suffering, despair, or pain (think death throes or the throes of childbirth), and actually shares a root with throw: the Old English þrawan, meaning to twist, turn, or writhe. The common thread likely had something to do with twisting a projectile before launching it.

So if you're in the throes of frustration because your seven-year-old won't stop practicing her baseball throws in the house, you'll now know which word to use for which!
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