Of unknown origin, only in West Germanic, as it were from Proto-Germanic *þawwaz. Cognate with Old Frisian thāw, Old Saxon thau (“custom”). A possible Old High German reflex is *dou (“discipline, coercion, tuition”).
þēaw m (nominative plural þēawas)
- English: thew
- ^ attested as ka-dau, ka-thau; in EWAhd tentatively identified as a reflex of an s-less variant of PIE (s)tāu- (s)te- (“to stand, place”). Köbler, Althochdeutsches Wörterbuch, (6. Auflage) 2014 s.v. "dou", citing Lloyd et al. (eds.), Etymologisches Wörterbuch des Althochdeutschen (EWAhd) vol. 2 (1998), p. 741.