1. Attractive physical attributes or features; good bodily proportions; muscles; vigour.
    • c. 1599, William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act I, Scene 3, 495-8 [1]
      For nature crescent does not grow alone / In thews and bulk; but as this temple waxes, / The inward service of the mind and soul / Grows wide withal.
    • 1855, Walt Whitman, "Song of the Open Road" in Leaves of Grass, New York: Modern Library, 1921, Stanza 10, p. 130, [2]
      He travelling with me needs the best blood, thews, endurance, / None may come to the trial till he or she bring courage and health,
    • 1896, A. E. Housman, "Reveille" in A Shropshire Lad, [3]
      Up, lad: thews that lie and cumber / Sunlit pallets never thrive; / Morns abed and daylight slumber / Were not meant for man alive.
    • 1998: B.A. Roberts, Battle Magic – As I pull two Mercian shafts from my bloodied thews.
  2. Qualities, character; behaviour.
    • c. 1379, Geoffrey Chaucer, The House of Fame, 1829-34, [4]
      To tellen al the tale aright, / We ben shrewes, every wight, / And han delyt in wikkednes, / As gode folk han in goodnes; And Ioye to be knowen shrewes, / And fulle of vyce and wikked thewes;
    • 1596, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, in Dorothy Stephens (ed.), The Faerie Queene, Books Three and Four, Indianapolis: Hackett, 2006, Book IV, Canto 9, Stanza 14, p. 391,
      He with good thewes and speaches well applyde, / Did mollifie, and calme her raging heat.
  3. plural of thew



  1. third-person singular simple present indicative form of thew