Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to: navigation, search



Borrowing from Old Church Slavonic они ‎(oni), from Proto-Slavic *onъ.



они́ ‎(oní)

  1. third-person plural pronoun: they.


Usage notes[edit]

  • An н is prefixed to any third-person pronoun in an oblique case whenever a preposition that directly governs it is immediately in front of it: от неё ‎(ot nejó) (from her), на нём ‎(na njom) (on him), у них ‎(u nix) (they have), к нему́ ‎(k nemú) (to him), с не́ю ‎(s néju) (with her).
  • This comes from Russian prepositions such as сън (sŭn, "with", cf. Greek σύν ‎(σύν), Latin cum), that originally ended in -н and governed oblique cases. Since the prepositions and the pronouns occurred together so often, it was easy to lose track of which word the final -н belonged to, and the н was reinterpreted as part of the pronouns (Old English an, in the same way, lost its -n except before vowels, and sometimes gave it to the following word, as in English adder from Old English nædre), so that сън и́ми became modern с ни́ми ‎(s ními), and this new rule was extended to all prepositions governing any third-person pronoun.
  • That if the preposition does not directly govern его́/её/их ‎(jevó/jejó/ix) (i.e., when they are possessive pronouns), then no н- is inserted: у его́ бра́та ‎(u jevó bráta) (at his brother’s), о её ма́тери ‎(o jejó máteri) (about her mother), в их ко́мнате ‎(v ix kómnate) (in their room).

Related terms[edit]



  • IPA(key): /ǒni/
  • Hyphenation: о‧ни


о̀ни (Latin spelling òni)

  1. they (nominative plural of о̑н ‎(he))