• Thing


    • enPR: thĭng, IPA: /θɪŋ/
    • US enPR: thēng, IPA: /θiːŋ/
    • Rhymes: -ɪŋ


    From Middle English, from Old English þing (thing), from Proto-Germanic *þingą; compare West Frisian ding, Low German Ding, Dutch ding, German Ding, Swedish, Danish and Norwegian ting. The word originally meant "assembly", then came to mean a specific issue discussed at such an assembly, and ultimately came to mean most broadly "an object". Compare the Latin rēs, also meaning legal matter. Modern use to refer to a Germanic assembly is likely influenced by cognates (from the same Proto-Germanic root) like Old Norse þing (thing), Swedish ting, and Old High German ding with this meaning.

    Full definition of thing



    (plural things)
    1. That which is considered to exist as a separate entity, object, quality or concept.
      • 2013-06-21, Oliver Burkeman, The tao of tech, The dirty secret of the internet is that all this distraction and interruption is immensely profitable. Web companies like to boast about , or offering services that let you , "share the things you love with the world" and so on. But the real way to build a successful online business is to be better than your rivals at undermining people's control of their own attention.
    2. A word, symbol, sign, or other referent that can be used to refer to any entity.
    3. An individual object or distinct entity.
    4. (informal) Something that is normal or generally recognised.
      Bacon pie? Is that a thing?
    5. (legal) Whatever can be owned.
    6. The latest fad or fashion.
    7. (in the plural) Clothes, possessions or equipment.
    8. (informal) A unit or container, usually containing edible goods.
      get me a thing of apple juice at the store;  I just ate a whole thing of jelly beans
    9. (informal) A problem, dilemma, or complicating factor.
      The car looks cheap, but the thing is, I have doubts about its safety.
    10. (slang) A penis.
    11. A living being or creature.
      • 2013-08-03, Revenge of the nerds, Think of banking today and the image is of grey-suited men in towering skyscrapers. Its future, however, is being shaped in converted warehouses and funky offices in San Francisco, New York and London, where bright young things in jeans and T-shirts huddle around laptops, sipping lattes or munching on free food.
    12. you poor thing;  she's a funny old thing, but her heart's in the right place;  I met a pretty blond thing at the bar
    13. That which matters; the crux.
      that's the thing: we don't know where he went;  the thing is, I don't have any money
    14. Used after a noun to refer dismissively to the situation surrounding the noun's referent.
      Oh yeah, I'm supposed to promote that vision thing.
      • 1914, Eugene Gladstone O'Neill, The Movie Man playscript:Don’t forget to have Gomez postpone that shooting thing. in reference to the execution of Fernandez
    15. (chiefly historical) A public assembly or judicial council in a Germanic country.
      • 1974, Jón Jóhannesson, A History of the Old Icelandic Commonwealth: Íslendinga Saga, translated by Haraldur Bessason, page 46:In accordance with Old Germanic custom men came to the thing fully armed, ...
      • 1974, Jakob Benediktsson, Landnám og upphaf allsherjarríkis, in Saga Íslands, quoted in 1988 by Jesse L. Byock in Medieval Iceland: Society, Sagas, and Power, page 85:The goðar seem both to have received payment of thing-fararkaup from those who stayed home and at the same time compensated those who went to the thing, and it cannot be seen whether they had any profit from these transactions.
      • 1988, Jesse L. Byock, Medieval Iceland: Society, Sagas, and Power, page 59:All Icelandic things were skap-thing, meaning that they were governed by established procedure and met at regular legally designated intevals at predetermined meeting places.


    Related terms


    1. (rare) To express as a thing; to reify.


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