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Alternative forms[edit]

  • thorow (obsolete)
  • thru (US, Canada)
  • thorough (obsolete, except in compounds such as thoroughfare)

Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English *thrugh, thruch, thruh, metathetic variants of Middle English thurgh, thurh, from Old English þorh, þurh, þerh, þærh ‎(through, for, during, by, by means of, by use of, because of, in consequence of), from Proto-Germanic, *þurhw ‎(through), from Proto-Indo-European suffixed zero-grade *tr̥h₂kʷe from *terh₂- ‎(to pass through) + *-kʷe ‎(and). Cognate with Scots throch ‎(through), West Frisian troch ‎(through), Dutch door ‎(through), German durch ‎(through), Gothic 𐌸𐌰𐌹𐍂𐌷 ‎(þairh, through), Latin trans ‎(across, over, through), Albanian tërthor ‎(through, around), Welsh tra ‎(through). See also thorough.




  1. From one side of an opening to the other.
    I went through the window.
    • 2013 June 1, “Ideas coming down the track”, in The Economist, volume 407, number 8838, page 13 (Technology Quarterly):
      A “moving platform” scheme [] is more technologically ambitious than maglev trains even though it relies on conventional rails. Local trains would use side-by-side rails to roll alongside intercity trains and allow passengers to switch trains by stepping through docking bays.
  2. Entering, then later leaving.
    I drove through the town at top speed without looking left or right.
    • 1893, Walter Besant, The Ivory Gate, Prologue:
      Athelstan Arundel walked home all the way, foaming and raging. [] He walked the whole way, walking through crowds, and under the noses of dray-horses, carriage-horses, and cart-horses, without taking the least notice of them.
    • 1914, Louis Joseph Vance, Nobody, chapter III:
      Turning back, then, toward the basement staircase, she began to grope her way through blinding darkness, but had taken only a few uncertain steps when, of a sudden, she stopped short and for a little stood like a stricken thing, quite motionless save that she quaked to her very marrow in the grasp of a great and enervating fear.
    • 2013 May 25, “No hiding place”, in The Economist, volume 407, number 8837, page 74:
      In America alone, people spent $170 billion on “direct marketing”—junk mail of both the physical and electronic varieties—last year. Yet of those who received unsolicited adverts through the post, only 3% bought anything as a result. If the bumf arrived electronically, the take-up rate was 0.1%. And for online adverts the “conversion” into sales was a minuscule 0.01%.
  3. Surrounded by (while moving).
    We slogged through the mud for hours before turning back and giving up.
    • 1913, Joseph C. Lincoln, chapter 1, in Mr. Pratt's Patients:
      I stumbled along through the young pines and huckleberry bushes. Pretty soon I struck into a sort of path that, I cal'lated, might lead to the road I was hunting for. It twisted and turned, and, the first thing I knew, made a sudden bend around a bunch of bayberry scrub and opened out into a big clear space like a lawn.
    • 2013 June 22, “Snakes and ladders”, in The Economist, volume 407, number 8841, page 76:
      Risk is everywhere. [] For each one there is a frighteningly precise measurement of just how likely it is to jump from the shadows and get you. “The Norm Chronicles” [] aims to help data-phobes find their way through this blizzard of risks.
  4. By means of.
    This team believes in winning through intimidation.
    • 2011 September 28, Tom Rostance, “Arsenal 2-1 Olympiakos”, in BBC Sport[1]:
      But the home side were ahead in the eighth minute through 18-year-old Oxlade-Chamberlain.
    • 2013 July 20, “The attack of the MOOCs”, in The Economist, volume 408, number 8845:
      Since the launch early last year of […] two Silicon Valley start-ups offering free education through MOOCs, massive open online courses, the ivory towers of academia have been shaken to their foundations. University brands built in some cases over centuries have been forced to contemplate the possibility that information technology will rapidly make their existing business model obsolete.
  5. (Canada, US) To (or up to) and including, with all intermediate values.
    from 1945 through 1991;  the numbers 1 through 9;  your membership is active through March 15, 2013
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.
Derived terms[edit]


through ‎(not comparable)

  1. Passing from one side of something to the other.
    Interstate highways form a nationwide system of through roads.
  2. Finished; complete.
    They were through with laying the subroof by noon.
  3. Valueless; without a future.
    After being implicated in the scandal, he was through as an executive in financial services.
  4. No longer interested.
    She was through with him.
    • 1908, W[illiam] B[lair] M[orton] Ferguson, Zollenstein, New York, N.Y.: D. Appleton & Company, OCLC 29686887 , chapter I:
      “I'm through with all pawn-games,” I laughed. “Come, let us have a game of lansquenet. Either I will take a farewell fall out of you or you will have your sevenfold revenge”.
    • 1977, Iggy Pop, Lust For Life
      I'm worth a million in prizes / Yeah, I'm through with sleeping on the sidewalk / No more beating my brains / No more beating my brains / With the liquor and drugs / With the liquor and drugs
  5. Proceeding from origin to destination without delay due to change of equipment.
    The through flight through Memphis was the fastest.


through ‎(not comparable)

  1. From one side to the other by way of the interior.
    The arrow went straight through.
  2. From one end to the other.
    Others slept; he worked straight through.
    She read the letter through.
  3. To the end.
    He said he would see it through.
  4. Completely.
    Leave the yarn in the dye overnight so the color soaks through.
  5. Out into the open.
    The American army broke through at St. Lo.


  • Andrea Tyler and Vyvyan Evans, "Bounded landmarks", in The Semantics of English Prepositions: Spatial Scenes, Embodied Meaning and Cognition, Cambridge University Press, 2003, 0-521-81430 8

Etymology 2[edit]

From Old English þrūh



through ‎(plural throughs)

  1. A large slab of stone laid on a tomb or in a dry-stone wall.


Most common English words before 1923: might · being · day · #115: through · himself · go · how