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See also: some-thing and -something


This entry needs quotations to illustrate usage. If you come across any interesting, durably archived quotes then please add them!
Particularly: “pronoun sense: talent or quality”
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Alternative forms[edit]


From Middle English somþyng, some-thing, som thing, sum thinge, sum þinge, from Old English sum þing (literally some thing), equivalent to some +‎ thing. Compare Old English āwiht (something, literally some thing, any thing), Swedish någonting (something, literally some thing, any thing).


  • enPR: sŭmʹthĭng, IPA(key): /ˈsʌm.θɪŋ/
    • (UK, General Australian, New Zealand) IPA(key): [ˈsɐm̥(p)θɪŋ]
      • (file)
    • (US) IPA(key): [ˈsʌm̥(p)θɪŋ], [ˈsʌn̪̥θɪŋ] (sometimes reduced to [ˈsʌ(m)ʔm̩] or [ˈsʌɾ̃ɪŋ], or even monosyllabically to [sʌ̃ː] or [sʌˑɪŋ])
  • Hyphenation: some‧thing
  • Rhymes: -ɪŋ


something (indefinite pronoun)

  1. An uncertain or unspecified thing; one thing.
    Synonym: (especially in dictionaries) sth
    I must have forgotten to pack something, but I can't think what.
    I have something for you in my bag.
    I have a feeling something good is going to happen today.
    The answer to four down is P something T something Y.
    She looked thirty-something. (anything from thirty-one to thirty-nine years old)
    • 2013 June 28, Joris Luyendijk, “Our banks are out of control”, in The Guardian Weekly, volume 189, number 3, page 21:
      Seeing the British establishment struggle with the financial sector is like watching an alcoholic who still resists the idea that something drastic needs to happen for him to turn his life around.
  2. (colloquial, of someone or something) A quality to a moderate degree.
    The performance was something of a disappointment.
    That child is something of a genius.
    • 1897 December (indicated as 1898), Winston Churchill, chapter V, in The Celebrity: An Episode, New York, N.Y.: The Macmillan Company; London: Macmillan & Co., Ltd., →OCLC:
      Then came a maid with hand-bag and shawls, and after her a tall young lady. She stood for a moment holding her skirt above the grimy steps, with something of the stately pose which Richter has given his Queen Louise on the stairway, and the light of the reflector fell full upon her.
    • 2020 May 7, Katie Rife, “If you’re looking to jump in your seat, make a playdate with Z”, in The Onion AV Club[1]:
      Christensen, who also edited and co-wrote the film, is becoming something of a specialist in child horror, having launched his feature directorial career with the infant-themed Still/Born in 2017.
  3. (colloquial, of a person) A talent or quality that is difficult to specify.
    Synonym: je ne sais quoi
    She has a certain something.
  4. (colloquial, often with really or quite) Somebody who or something that is superlative or notable in some way.
    He's really something! I've never heard such a great voice.
    She's quite something. I can't believe she would do such a mean thing.
    Some marmosets are less than six inches tall. —Well, isn't that something?

Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]


  • Tok Pisin: samting
  • Korean: 썸팅 (sseomting)


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.


something (not comparable)

  1. Having a characteristic that the speaker cannot specify.
    • 1986, Marie Nicole, Foxy Lady, →ISBN, page 20:
      "Very poetic." They came to a halt before the outer door. "It's very something," Rusty said wistfully. "How do you do it?"
    • 1988, Colleen Klein, A Space for Delight, page 200:
      "It's very — it's very something," said Lucy. "It's a kind of love-letter, isn't it?"
    • 2014, Sommer Nectarhoff, A Buck in the Snow, →ISBN:
      If it isn't large, I certainly can't say it's small. But it's very something.
    • 2015, Edward Carey, Lungdon, →ISBN:
      'How proud they have become,' I said, 'how disobedient. I must say, all in all, it's very something.'


something (not comparable)

  1. (degree) Somewhat; to a degree.
    The baby looks something like his father.
  2. (colloquial, especially in certain set combinations) Used to adverbialise a following adjective
    I miss them something terrible. (I miss them terribly)
    • 1913, Eleanor H. Porter, Pollyanna[2], L.C. Page, →OCLC:
      You can't thrash when you have rheumatic fever – though you want to something awful, Mrs. White says.
    • 1994 Summer, Rebecca T. Goodwin, “Keeper of the house”, in Paris Review, volume 36, number 131, page 161:
      Seeing him here, though, I all of a sudden feel more like I been gone from home three years, instead of three weeks, and I miss my people something fierce.
    • 2001 January, Susan Schorn, “Bobby Lee Carter and the hand of God”, in U.S. Catholic, volume 66, number 1, page 34:
      And then she put the coffin right out on her front porch. Jim told everyone he'd built it kind of roomy since Bobby Lee was on the stout side, but that it better get used quick because sycamore tends to warp something terrible.

Derived terms[edit]


something (third-person singular simple present somethings, present participle somethinging, simple past and past participle somethinged)

  1. Designates an action whose name is forgotten by, unknown or unimportant to the user, e.g. from words of a song.
    • 1890, William Dean Howells, A Hazard of New Fortunes [3]
      He didn’t apply for it for a long time, and then there was a hitch about it, and it was somethinged—vetoed, I believe she said.
    • 2003, George Angel, “Allegoady,” in Juncture, Lara Stapleton and Veronica Gonzalez edd. [4]
      She hovers over the something somethinging and awkwardly lowers her bulk.
    • 2005, Floyd Skloot, A World of Light [5]
      Oh how we somethinged on the hmmm hmm we were wed. Dear, was I ever on the stage?”


something (plural somethings)

  1. An object whose nature is yet to be defined.
    • 1903, Florence Converse, Long Will: A Romance, Boston, Mass., New York, N.Y.: Houghton, Mifflin and Company; Cambridge, Mass.: The Riverside Press, page 138:
      Yea, ’t is true; I ’d know thee by thine eyen, that are gray, and thoughtful, and dark with a something that lies behind the colour of them,—and shining by the light of a lamp lit somewhere within.
    • 2013 June 8, “The new masters and commanders”, in The Economist, volume 407, number 8839, page 52:
      From the ground, Colombo’s port does not look like much. []   But viewed from high up in one of the growing number of skyscrapers in Sri Lanka’s capital, it is clear that something extraordinary is happening: China is creating a shipping hub just 200 miles from India’s southern tip.
  2. An object whose name is forgotten by, unknown or unimportant to the user, e.g., from words of a song. Also used to refer to an object earlier indefinitely referred to as 'something' (pronoun sense).
    • 1999, Nicholas Clapp, The Road to Ubar [6]
      What was the something the pilot saw, the something worth killing for?
    • 2004, Theron Q Dumont, The Master Mind [7]
      Moreover, in all of our experience with these sense impressions, we never lose sight of the fact that they are but incidental facts of our mental existence, and that there is a Something Within which is really the Subject of these sense reports—a Something to which these reports are presented, and which receives them.
    • 2004, Ira Levin, The Stepford Wives [8]
      She wiped something with a cloth, wiped at the wall shelf, and put the something on it, clinking glass.