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From Middle English sche, hye (she), from earlier scho, hyo, ȝho (she), a phonetic development of Old English hēo, hīo (she), from Proto-Germanic *hijō (this, this one), from Proto-Indo-European *ḱe-, *ḱey- (this, here). Cognate with English dialectal hoo (she), Scots scho, shu (she), West Frisian hja (she), North Frisian (she), Danish hun (she), Swedish hon (she). More at he.

Despite the similarity in appearance, the Old English feminine demonstrative sēo (that) is probably not the source of Middle English forms in sch-. Rather, the sch- developed out of a change in stress upon hío resulting in hió, spelt ȝho (ȝh = , compare wh = hw, lh = hl, etc.), and the h was palatalised into the sh sound. Similar alteration can be seen the name Shetland, from Old Norse Hjaltland; ȝho is the immediate parent form of Middle English scho and sche.



she (third-person singular, feminine, nominative case, accusative and possessive her, possessive hers, reflexive herself)

  1. (personal) A female person or animal.
    I asked Mary, but she said that she didn't know.
  2. (personal) A ship or country.
  3. (personal, affectionate) Machinery such as cars and steam engines.
    She is a beautiful boat, isn't she?
  4. (personal, nonstandard) he/she. used arbitrarily with he for an indefinite person in order to be gender-neutral.
    • Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Flow, 1990:
      Optimal experience is thus something that we make happen. For a child, it could be placing with trembling fingers the last block on a tower she has built, higher than any she has built so far; for a swimmer, it could be trying to beat his own record; for a violinist, mastering an intricate musical passage.



she (plural shes)

  1. A female.
    And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare / As any she belied with false compare — Shakespeare.
    • 2000, Sue V. Rosser, Building inclusive science (volume 28, issues 1-2, page 189)
      A world where the hes are so much more common than the shes can hardly be seen as a welcoming place for women.

See alsoEdit





A derivative of shi.


she m (indefinite plural she, definite singular sheu, definite plural shetë)

  1. undrying rivulet
Related termsEdit




  1. Nonstandard spelling of shē.
  2. Nonstandard spelling of shé.
  3. Nonstandard spelling of shě.
  4. Nonstandard spelling of shè.

Usage notesEdit

  • English transcriptions of Mandarin speech often fail to distinguish between the critical tonal differences employed in the Mandarin language, using words such as this one without the appropriate indication of tone.
Last modified on 3 April 2014, at 13:48