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See also: thé, thè, thế, thể, the-, and þe


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Alternative forms[edit]

  • þe (obsolete), e (obsolete), ẏe (archaic): variant spelling of the.
  • ye (archaic)
  • de (eye dialect, AAVE)
  • da, teh, le (informal)
  • t' (Northern England)


  • (when stressed or prevocalic)
  • (when unstressed and preconsonantal)
    • enPR: thə, IPA(key): /ðə/ (but see notes below)
    • (file)
    • (file)
    • Rhymes: (generally not applicable as the unstressed variant is never used to terminate a phrase)

Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English the, from Old English þē ‎(the, that, demonstrative pronoun), a late variant of ‎(that, the). Originally masculine nominative, in Middle English it superseded all previous Old English forms (, sēo, þæt, þā), from Proto-Germanic *sa ‎(that), from Proto-Indo-European *só, *to-, *tód ‎(demonstrative pronoun). Cognate with Saterland Frisian de, die ‎(the, that), West Frisian de, dy ‎(the, that), Dutch de, die ‎(the, that), Low German de, dat ‎(the, that), German der, die, das ‎(the, that), Danish den ‎(the, that), Swedish den ‎(the, that), Icelandic það ‎(that).



  1. Definite grammatical article that implies necessarily that an entity it articulates is presupposed; something already mentioned, or completely specified later in that same sentence, or assumed already completely specified. [from 10th c.]
    I’m reading the book. (Compare I’m reading a book.)
    The street in front of your house. (Compare A street in Paris.)
    The men and women watched the man give the birdseed to the bird.
  2. Used before an object considered to be unique, or of which there is only one at a time. [from 10th c.]
    No one knows how many galaxies there are in the universe.
    God save the Queen!
  3. With a superlative, it and that superlative refer to one object. [from 9th c.]
    That apple pie was the best.
  4. Introducing a term to be taken generically; preceding a name of something standing for a whole class. [from 9th c.]
    • 1994, Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom, Abacus 2010, page 536:
      Stern and God-fearing, the Afrikaner takes his religion seriously.
  5. Used before an adjective, indicating all things (especially persons) described by that adjective. [from 9th c.]
    Feed the hungry, clothe the naked, comfort the afflicted, and afflict the comfortable.
  6. Used to indicate a certain example of (a noun) which is most usually of concern, or most common or familiar. [from 12th c.]
    No one in the whole country had seen it before.
    I don't think I'll get to it until the morning.
  7. Used before a body part (especially of someone previously mentioned), as an alternative to a possessive pronoun. [from 12th c.]
    A stone hit him on the head. (= “A stone hit him on his head.”)
  8. When stressed, indicates that it describes an object which is considered to be best or exclusively worthy of attention. [from 18th c.]
    That is the hospital to go to for heart surgery.
    • 2012 May 27, Nathan Rabin, “TV: Review: THE SIMPSONS (CLASSIC): “New Kid On The Block” (season 4, episode 8; originally aired 11/12/1992)”, in The Onion AV Club[1]:
      “New Kid On The Block” doubles as a terrific showcase for the Sea Captain who, in the grand tradition of Simpsons supporting characters, quickly goes from being a stereotype to an archetype, from being a crusty sea-captain character to the crusty sea-captain character.
Usage notes[edit]
Derived terms[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English the, thy, thi, from Old English þȳ ‎(by that, after that, whereby), originally the instrumental case of the demonstratives ‎(masculine) and þæt ‎(neuter). Cognate with Dutch des te ("the, the more"), German desto ("the, all the more"), Norwegian fordi ("because"), Icelandic því ‎(the; because), Faroese , Swedish ty.


the ‎(not comparable)

  1. With a comparative or more and a verb phrase, establishes a parallel with one or more other such comparatives.
    The hotter, the better.
    The more I think about it, the weaker it looks.
    The more money donated, the more books purchased, and the more happy children.
    It looks weaker and weaker, the more I think about it.
  2. With a comparative, and often with for it, indicates a result more like said comparative. This can be negated with none.
    It was a difficult time, but I’m the wiser for it.
    It was a difficult time, and I’m none the wiser for it.
    I'm much the wiser for having had a difficult time like that.
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.

See also[edit]


Most common English words before 1923: #1: the · of · and · to


Crimean Gothic[edit]


From Proto-Germanic *sa, *sō, *þat.



  1. the
    • 1562, Ogier Ghiselin de Busbecq:
      omnibus vero dictionibus praeponebat articulum tho aut the

Usage notes[edit]

While it is likely that Crimean Gothic retained grammatical gender, de Busbecq's letter does not mention which articles are used with which words, making it impossible to reconstruct their gender.



the c

  1. Archaic spelling of te. ("tea")




the ‎(plural thes)

  1. tea





  1. Lenited form of te.


Irish mutation
Radical Lenition Eclipsis
te the dte
Note: Some of these forms may be hypothetical. Not every
possible mutated form of every word actually occurs.




  1. ear

See also[edit]

  • ye (incorporated noun)


  • 2003, Mark Abley, Spoken Here: Travels Among Threatened Languages.

Old Saxon[edit]


Replaced the original masculine and feminine nominative forms from Proto-Germanic *sa, by analogy with the adjective inflection. Compare also Old High German ther, der where the same process occurred.


thē m

  1. that, that one
    them uuīha uuīsa lēstean: To obey that holy wise.



  • Low German: de



From English the, which sounds similar to Serbo-Croatian da.


the ‎(no known Cyrillic variant)

  1. (Internet slang) Alternative spelling of da
    neki kreten the ih drka emotivno
    some jerk to fuck with them emotionally
    the ovo okačim na fb wall, garant ne bih opstala od borKINJa za ženska prava
    if I posted this on FB wall, I surelly wouldn't survive the women rights fighters



the n

  1. Alternative spelling of te (tea)




  1. Aspirate mutation of te.


Welsh mutation
radical soft nasal aspirate
te de nhe the
Note: Some of these forms may be hypothetical. Not every
possible mutated form of every word actually occurs.