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A yellow sign reading "NOT A THRU STREET"
A street sign in Nevada with thru rather than through.


Modern use originated in American English as a phonetic and simplified spelling of through around 1839. The spelling had previously been one of several used in Middle English.[1]




  1. (Canada, US, informal) Nonstandard spelling of through.
    • 1996 December, Joe Hastreiter, “Sludge Management Savings Found Among Reeds”, in Water Engineering & Management, volume 143, number 12, Scranton Gillette Communications, page 23:
      We wanted an overall treatment system that gave us optimum reliability and required a minimum of labor to operate - from primary clarifier thru sludge handling, …
    • 2003, Hasson Kevin J., “Religious Liberty and Human Dignity: A Tale of Two Declarations”, in Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy, volume 27, number 1, Harvard, pages 81–92:
      … to respect human rights, then failing to explicitly define thru common understanding.
    • 2004 December 22, Fredericks, Marcel / Odiet, Jeff A. / Miller, Steven I. / Fredericks, Janet, “Toward an Understanding of "Genetic Sociology" and Its Relationships to Medical Sociology and Medical Genetics in the Educational Enterprise.”, in Education, volume 125, number 2, Project Innovation, Inc., →ISSN, pages 222–235:
      As the technology improves, there is a possibility to reprogram adult stem cells for therapeutic cloning without "passing it thru" the preimplantation embryo, thus negating current ethical challenges to such research.
    • 2006 December,, Roxanne Mills, “Leadership in Higher Education and the Second Half of Life”, in Education, volume 127, number 2, Project Innovation, Inc., →ISSN, pages 294–302:
      Going thru a great crisis of self-analysis, especially in relation to job, school, work, students.
    • 2010 January, David Martinez, “Pulling Down the Clouds: The O'odham Intellectual Tradition during the "Time of Famine"”, in American Indian Quarterly, volume 34, number 1, University of Nebraska Press, →ISSN, pages 1–32:
      Myths and Legends of the Pimas of Arizona as received by J. William Lloyd from Comalk-Hawk-Kih (Thin Buckskin) thru the interpretation of Edward Hubert Wood.
    • 2011, Fancine N. D'Aprile, From Hell on Earth to the Foot of the Cross[1], Trafford Publishing, →ISBN, page 157:
      If you see thru my eyes, you'd wish you weren't here, because all you will feel sadness and fear. It loneliness and sorrow if you see thru my eyes sit and talk to before you say goodbye. [] See thru my eyes and a tear you will see, I wish you could cry and cry with me.
    • For more quotations using this term, see Citations:thru.
  2. (chiefly Canada, US) Abbreviation of through.
  3. (UK, rare, regional or dialectal) Eye dialect spelling of through.

Usage notes[edit]

  • Thru is mostly used where the preposition through could be used (e.g. Monday thru Friday); it is less common as an adjective or adverb (I'm thru with the vacuuming). It is less used in formal situations, except in cases where brevity is wanted such as roadway signs or date ranges.
  • This spelling is not used in standard British English, though it can be found as an abbreviation – similar to thro' – and is recently becoming noticeable due to use by American-based companies, especially in the term drive-thru. It may also be used as an eye dialect spelling in some regions.
    • Through (or thru) is rarely used in any spelling to indicate ranges in British English; to, till, and until are used instead.
  • Thru is often used, in both American and British English, in professional drafting (5/8″ thru hole) to save space and simplify annotation on a drawing for fabrication or construction.
  • May be used by advocates of English spelling reform.

Derived terms[edit]



  1. ^ Thru vs Through: How One Turned Into the Other”, in Merriam-Webster: Wordplay, 2022 September 6 (last accessed)

Further reading[edit]