From Middle English thew, theow, from Old English þēow, þēo (“servant, slave”), from Proto-Germanic *þewaz, *þegwaz (“servant”), from Proto-Indo-European *tekwos (“runner”), from Proto-Indo-European *tekw- (“to run, flow”). Cognate with Old High German diu (“servant”), Gothic [script?] (þius, “bondman, slave, servant”), Dutch dienen (“to serve”), German dienen (“to serve”), Old English þegn (“servant, minister, vassal”). See thegn, thane.
thew (plural thews)
From Middle English thew, from Old English þēow (“servile, not free, bond”), from Proto-Germanic *þewaz, *þegwaz (“subject, servile”), from Proto-Indo-European *tekwos (“runner”), from Proto-Indo-European *tekw- (“to run, flow”). Cognate with Old High German dio (“unfree”).
From Middle English thewen, from Old English þēowan, þȳwan (“to press, impress, force, press on, urge on, drive, press with a weapon, thrust, pierce, stab, threaten, rebuke, subjugate, crush, push, oppress, check”), from Proto-Germanic *þewjaną (“to enslave, oppress”), from Proto-Indo-European *tekw- (“to run, flow”). Cognate with Middle Dutch douwen, Middle Low German duwen, Middle High German diuhen, dūhen, diuwen (“to oppress”).
From Middle English thew, theaw (often in plural thewes), from Old English þēaw (“usage, custom, general practise of a community, mode of conduct, manner, practise, way, behaviour”), from Proto-Germanic *þawwaz (“custom, habit”), from Proto-Indo-European *(s)tāu-, *(s)te- (“to stand, place”). Cognate with Old Frisian thāw, Old Saxon thau (“custom”), Old High German *gathau, kathau (“discipline”).
thew (plural thews)
- Muscle or sinew.
- A good quality or habit; virtue.
- An attractive physical attribute, especially muscle; mental or moral vigour.
- 1602 : Hamlet by William Shakespeare, act 1 scene 3 lines 11-12-13-14
- For nature crescent does not grow alone
- In thews and bulks, but as this temple waxes,
- The inward service of the mind and soul
- Grows wide withal.
- 1960, Thomas Pynchon, Low-Lands
- Fortune’s elf child and disinherited darling, young and randy and more a Jolly Jack Tar than anyone human could conceivably be; thews and chin taut against a sixty-knot gale with a well-broken-in briar clenched in the bright defiant teeth
- Mutated form of tew.