See also: Than, thân, thần, Thân, thận, thàn, and þan

English edit

 
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Alternative forms edit

Etymology edit

From Middle English than, thanne, from Old English þanne, a variant of þonne (then, since, because), from Proto-Germanic *þan (at that, at that time, then), from earlier *þam, from Proto-Indo-European *tóm, accusative masculine of *só (demonstrative pronoun, that). Cognate with Dutch dan (than), German denn (than), German dann (then). Doublet of then.

Pronunciation edit

  • (stressed) enPR: thăn, thĕn, IPA(key): /ðæn/, /ðɛn/
    • (file)
    • Rhymes: -æn, -ɛn
  • (unstressed) enPR: thən, IPA(key): /ðən/, [ðn̩]
    • (file)
  • Homophone: then (unstressed or, for some speakers, stressed)

Conjunction edit

than

  1. Used in comparisons, to introduce the basis of comparison.
    • 2013 July 20, “Old Soldiers?”, in The Economist, volume 408, number 8845:
      Whether modern, industrial man is less or more warlike than his hunter-gatherer ancestors is impossible to determine. The machine gun is so much more lethal than the bow and arrow that comparisons are meaningless.
    • 1665, Edward Stillingfleet, William Laud, Thomas Carwell, A Rational Account of the Grounds of Protestant Religion:
      Answer me if you can, any other way, than because the Scriptures, which are infallible, Say so.
    she's taller than I am;  she found his advice more witty than helpful;  we have less work today than we had yesterday;  We had no choice than to return home
  2. (obsolete outside dialects, usually used with for) Because; for.
    • 1854, Reformation series:
      If thou say yes, then puttest thou on Christ (that is, the wisdome of God, the Father) unkunning, unpower, or euil will: for than he could not make his rule so good as an other did his.
    • 1668, William Lawson, A Way to Get Wealth:
      You shall also take the fine earth or mould which is found in the hollow of old Willow trees, rising from the root almost to the middle of the Tree, at least so far as the tree is hollow, for than this, there is no earth or mould finer or richer.

Preposition edit

than

  1. introduces a comparison, and is associated with comparatives, and with words such as more, less, and fewer. Typically, it seeks to measure the force of an adjective or similar description between two predicates.
    Patients diagnosed more recently are probably surviving an average of longer than two years.
    No player is more skillful than Greg.

Usage notes edit

Usage prescriptivists have a number of rules concerning than. According to them, than is not a preposition to govern the oblique case (although it has been used as such by writers such as William Shakespeare, whose 1600 play Julius Caesar contains the line A man no mightier than thyself or me. . ., and Samuel Johnson, who wrote No man had ever more discernment than him, in finding out the ridiculous.). Than functions as both conjunction and preposition; when it is used as a conjunction, it governs the nominative case, and when a preposition, the oblique case. To determine the case of a pronoun following "than", a writer can look to implied words and determine how they would relate to the pronoun.

Examples :

  • You are a better swimmer than she.
    • represents You are a better swimmer than she is.
    • therefore You are a better swimmer than her is, according to such prescriptivists, a solecism.
  • They like you more than her.
    • represents They like you more than they like her.
    • therefore They like you more than she is a solecism, if it attempts to represent the previous sentence. It may be correct, however, if it represents They like you more than she likes you.

Some prescriptivists insist that whom must follow than (not who); although according to the above rule, who would be the "correct" form in the first example. Critics of this often cite this mandatory exception as evidence that the prescriptivist rule is logically erroneous, in addition to its being inconsistent with well-established usage.

Translations edit

Adverb edit

than (not comparable)

  1. (now chiefly dialectal or a misspelling) At that time; then.

Anagrams edit

Cornish edit

Noun edit

than

  1. Aspirate mutation of tan.

Middle English edit

Alternative forms edit

Etymology edit

From Old English þonne.

Conjunction edit

than

  1. than

Descendants edit

  • English: than

Adverb edit

than

  1. then
    • 14th Century, Chaucer, General Prologue
      And whan that he wel dronken hadde the wyn,
      Than wolde he speke no word but Latyn.
      And when he had drunk all the wine
      He would not speak a word other than Latin

Descendants edit

Old Dutch edit

Adverb edit

than

  1. then

References edit

Old High German edit

Alternative forms edit

Adverb edit

than

  1. then, there, when, at that time

Conjunction edit

than

  1. from there, therefore, if, because, after
  2. than, (comparative)

References edit

  1. Braune, Wilhelm. Althochdeutsches Lesebuch, zusammengestellt und mit Glossar versehen

Vietnamese edit

Pronunciation edit

Etymology 1 edit

Non-Sino-Vietnamese reading of Chinese (coal, SV: thán).

Noun edit

than (, )

  1. coal
    than củi
    charcoal
Derived terms edit
Derived terms

Etymology 2 edit

Non-Sino-Vietnamese reading of Chinese (SV: thán).

Verb edit

than

  1. to complain
Derived terms edit
Derived terms

Anagrams edit

Welsh edit

Preposition edit

than

  1. Aspirate mutation of tan.

Mutation edit

Welsh mutation
radical soft nasal aspirate
tan dan nhan than
Note: Some of these forms may be hypothetical. Not every possible mutated form of every word actually occurs.

Yola edit

Etymology edit

From Middle English than, from Old English þonne.

Adverb edit

than

  1. then
    • 1867, “A YOLA ZONG”, in SONGS, ETC. IN THE DIALECT OF FORTH AND BARGY, number 5, page 86:
      Zitch vezzeen, tarvizzeen, 'tell than w'ne'er zey.
      Such driving, and struggling, 'till then we ne'er saw.
    • 1867, “A YOLA ZONG”, in SONGS, ETC. IN THE DIALECT OF FORTH AND BARGY, number 8, page 86:
      Than caame ee shullereen, ee teap an corkite;
      Then came the shouldering, tossing, and tumbling;
    • 1867, “A YOLA ZONG”, in SONGS, ETC. IN THE DIALECT OF FORTH AND BARGY, number 12, page 88:
      Than stalket, an gandelt, wie o! an gridane.
      Then stalked and wondered, with oh! and with grief.

Preposition edit

than

  1. than
    • 1867, “THE WEDDEEN O BALLYMORE”, in SONGS, ETC. IN THE DIALECT OF FORTH AND BARGY, number 4, page 96:
      An neeat wooden trenshoorès var whiter than snow.
      And neat wooden trenchers far whiter than snow.

References edit

  • Jacob Poole (1867), William Barnes, editor, A Glossary, With some Pieces of Verse, of the old Dialect of the English Colony in the Baronies of Forth and Bargy, County of Wexford, Ireland, London: J. Russell Smith, page 86 & 96