thou

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English[edit]

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Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English thou, thow, thu, þou, from Old English þū, from Proto-Germanic *þū, from Proto-Indo-European *túh₂. Akin to Old Frisian thū (West Frisian do), Old Saxon thū (Low German du), Old Dutch thū (Middle Dutch du, Limburgish doe), Old High German (German du), Old Norse þú, (Icelandic þú, Danish du, Norwegian du, Swedish du), Latin tu, Ancient Greek σύ () (Modern Greek εσύ (esý)).

Pronunciation[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Pronoun[edit]

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thou (plural ye or you, objective case thee, reflexive thyself, possessive determiner thy or thine, possessive pronoun thine)

  1. (archaic, literary, or dialectal) you singular informal, nominative case
Usage notes[edit]
  • Thou is used with the archaic second-person singular of verbs, which usually ends in -est, as in, for example, “Lovest thou me?” Irregular forms include: art (of be), hast (of have), shalt (of shall), wost (of wit), and wilt (of will).
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Translations[edit]
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Verb[edit]

thou (third-person singular simple present thous, present participle thouing, simple past and past participle thoued)

  1. (transitive) To address (a person) using the pronoun thou, especially as an expression of familiarity or contempt.
    • 1888, Rudyard Kipling, ‘On the City Wall’, In Black and White, Folio Society 2005, p. 443:
      "One service more, Sahib, since thou hast come so opportunely," said Lalun. "Wilt thou" – it is very nice to be thou-ed by Lalun – "take this old man across the City [...] to the Kumharsen Gate?"
    I thou thee, thou traitor! (Edward Coke to Walter Raleigh)
    Avaunt, caitiff, dost thou thou me! I am come of good kin, I tell thee! (The morality play Hickscorner, ca. 1530)
    If thou thou'st him some thrice, it shall not be amiss[...] (Twelfth Night 3.2, Sir Toby Belch to Sir Andrew, egging him on to pick a fight with another, where one would expect one knight courteously to say to another, "If you thou him...").
    Don't thou them as thous thee! (Yorkshire English admonition to overly familiar children)
  2. (intransitive) To use the word thou.


Translations[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

Shortened from thousandth.

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

thou (plural thous)

  1. (dated UK) A unit of length equal to one-thousandth of an inch.
Synonyms[edit]

Etymology 3[edit]

Shortened from thousand.

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

thou (plural thou)

  1. (slang) A thousand, especially a thousand dollars, a thousand pounds sterling, etc.

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