See also: Thole



Etymology 1Edit

From Middle English thōle, from tholen, tholien,[1] from Old English þolian,[2] from Proto-Germanic *þulāną (to suffer), from Proto-Indo-European *telh₂- (to bear, suffer; to support), compare tåle.


thole (third-person singular simple present tholes, present participle tholing, simple past and past participle tholed)

  1. (intransitive, dated) To suffer.
    • 1922 February, James Joyce, “[Episode 14: Oxen of the Sun]”, in Ulysses, London: The Egoist Press, published October 1922, OCLC 2297483, part II [Odyssey], page 368:
      Seventy beds keeps he there teeming mothers are wont that they lie for to thole and bring forth bairns hale so God’s angel to Mary quoth.
    • 1922, Francis Lynde, Pirates' Hope, Charles Scribner's Sons, New York, page 115:
      That remark of Edith Van Tromp's, to the effect that the illusions would all be swept away, had its confirmation before we had tholed through the first week of our island captivity.
  2. (transitive, now Northern England, Northern Ireland, Scotland) To endure, to put up with, to tolerate.
    • 1705, William Forbes, “Concerning the Burdens that Tiends are Liable to”, in A Treatise of Church-lands & Tithes, Edinburgh: Printed by the heirs and successors of Andrew Anderson [i.e., James Anderson], printer to the Queens Most Excellent Majesty; and to be sold at John Vallange's shop, on the north-side of the street, a little above the cross, OCLC 230572207, page 345:
      Nor was long Poſſeſſion in molendino regio, of receiving Multures for all Corns of a Barony promiſcuouſly without exception of Teind, found to bring the Teind under a Thirlage, Except ſuch as tholed Fire and Water there.
    • 1902, John Buchan, The Outgoing of the Tide
      Before long Ailie was silent and white, while her mother rimed on about men and their ways. And then she could thole it no longer, but must go out and walk by the burn to cool her hot brow and calm her thoughts, while the witch indoors laughed to herself at her devices.
    • 1932, Lewis Grassic Gibbon [pseudonym; James Leslie Mitchell], “Ploughing”, in Sunset Song: A Novel (A Scots Quair; 1), London: Jarrolds, OCLC 2475466; republished as Tom Crawford, editor, Sunset Song, Edinburgh; New York, N.Y.: Canongate Books, 2008, →ISBN, page 34:
      But then they heard an awful scream that made them leap to their feet, it was as though mother were being torn and torn in the teeth of beasts and couldn't thole it longer; []
    • 1955, Robin Jenkins, The Cone-gatherers, London: Macdonald, OCLC 5049790; republished as The Cone-gatherers: A Haunting Story of Violence and Love, Edinburgh: Canongate Books, 2007, →ISBN, pages 86–87:
      While they were enjoying their meal and placidly tholing the cacophony from the wireless set, they saw the first of the Ardmore workers arrive in the café.
Derived termsEdit
Related termsEdit
  • thoil
  • tholeburde (obsolete, rare)
  • tholeburdness (obsolete)
  • tholemodely (obsolete)
  • tholemodeness (obsolete)
  • tholemod, tholemode (obsolete)

Etymology 2Edit

An illustration of a thole (sense 1), which is inserted into the side of a boat to act as a fulcrum for an oar
The tholes (sense 2) of a scythe are the short pins projecting at right angles from the snath (shaft) of the scythe. A person using the scythe grasps the tholes to swing the tool.

From Middle English thō̆le (a peg), from Old English þol, þoll (oar-pin, rowlock; thole),[3] from Proto-Germanic *þullaz, *þullō (beam; thole), from Proto-Indo-European *tūl-, *twel- (bush; sphere). The word is cognate with Danish toll (thole), Dutch dol (thole; oarlock), Low German Doll (thole; oarlock).


thole (plural tholes)

  1. A pin in the side of a boat which acts as a fulcrum for the oars.
  2. A pin, or handle, of the snath (shaft) of a scythe.
    • 1850 May, “[List of American Patents which issued in November, 1849, with Exemplifications by Charles M. Keller, late Chief Examiner of Patents in the U.S. Patent Office.] 38. For an Improvement in Scythe Snaths; Luther Cole, Lafayette, Onondaga county, New York, November 20.”, in John F[ries] Frazer, editor, Journal of the Franklin Institute of the State of Pennsylvania for the Promotion of the Mechanic Arts, volume XIX (Third Series; volume XLIX overall), number 5, Philadelphia, Pa.: Published by the Franklin Institute, at their hall, OCLC 1013447426, page 313:
      The nature of my invention consists in curving forward that portion of the scythe snath below the right nib or thole, to such an extent as to form an obtuse angle between the scythe and snath at the point where they are joined, and also in such a manner as to equalize the labor between the right and left hands; whereas, in snaths now in use, the greatest amount of labor falls upon the right arm.
    • 1870 July 9, Phinehas Field, “Mowing, and Things”, in Simon Brown and Stilman Fletcher, editors, The New England Farmer: Devoted to Agriculture, Horticulture, and Kindred Arts, volume IV (New Series), number 9, Boston, Mass.: R. P. Eaton & Co., publishers, office, 24 Merchants' Row, published September 1870, OCLC 761748265, page 424, column 2:
      For my own stature, which is five feet eight inches, I find that two feet six inches from the heel to the lower thole, just right, and the tholes should be eighteen inches apart. For smooth land, the scythe should be three feet nine inches' shorter for lodged clover and rough ground. The point should be set three feet five inches from the upper thole.
Alternative formsEdit
Derived termsEdit

Etymology 3Edit

Anglicization of Latin tholus (cupola, dome, rotunda), from Ancient Greek θόλος (thólos, dome, vault), further etymology uncertain but possibly cognate with θᾰ́λᾰμος (thálamos, bedroom; inner chamber).


thole (plural tholes)

  1. (architecture) A cupola, a dome, a rotunda; a tholus.
    • 1828, [Algernon Herbert], “Ba-bel”, in Nimrod: A Discourse on Certain Passages of History and Fable, volume I, London: Printed [by Thomas Davison] for Richard Priestley, OCLC 230659541, page 206:
      Philostratus relates that the king's house in Babylon had a roof of brass, which shone like lightning, and that in that house there was a chamber, whose ceiling was a thole (that is, a concave hemisphere) made in imitation of some system of the heaven, and with sapphire-coloured stones, [] and from the thole were suspended four golden doves, or iynges, who were called the Tongues of the Gods.
Related termsEdit


  1. ^ thōle, n.(2).”, in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007, retrieved 2 December 2017.
  2. ^ thōlen, v.”, in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007, retrieved 2 December 2017.
  3. ^ thō̆le, n.(1).”, in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007, retrieved 2 December 2017.

Further readingEdit





  1. vocative singular of tholus

Middle EnglishEdit



  1. thole; suffer
    • 1387–1400, Geoffrey Chaucer, “The Freres Tale”, in The Canterbury Tales, [Westminster: William Caxton, published 1478], OCLC 230972125; republished in [William Thynne], editor, The Workes of Geffray Chaucer Newlye Printed, [], [London]: [] [Richard Grafton for] Iohn Reynes [], 1542, OCLC 932884868, folio xliiii, recto, column 2:
      Depe was the waie, for which the cart ſtode / This carter ſmote, & ſtriued as he were wode / Heit ſcot heit brok, what ſpare ye for ſtones / The fende q[uo]d he, you fetche body & bones, / As ferforth as euer ye were yfoled, / So moche wo as I haue for you tholed / The deuyl haue al, both horse, carte, & hay
      Deep was the way, which is why the cart stood [still] / The carter smote, and strived as if he were mad / "Gee up, Scot, gee up, Brok [the names of horses], why do you stop pulling for the stones? / "The fiend," said he, "fetch you, body and bones, / "Thus far since you were foaled [born], / "So much woe have I suffered due to you. / "The devil have all, both horses, cart, and hay."