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See also: Thou and þou



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Etymology 1Edit

From Middle English thou, thow, thu, þou, from Old English þū, from Proto-Germanic *þū, from Proto-Indo-European *túh₂. Akin to Old Frisian thū (West Frisian do), Old Saxon thū (Low German du), Old Dutch thū (Middle Dutch du, Limburgish doe), Old High German (German du), Old Norse þú, (Icelandic þú, Faroese , Danish du, Norwegian du, Swedish du, Old Swedish þu), Latin tu, Ancient Greek σύ () (Greek εσύ (esý)).

Alternative formsEdit


  • enPR: thou, IPA(key): /ðaʊ/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -aʊ


thou (plural ye, objective case thee, reflexive thyself, possessive determiner thy or thine, possessive pronoun thine)

  1. (archaic, literary, religious, ceremonial, or dialectal) you singular nominative case [–early 17th c.]
    • 1742, Charles Wesley (music), “Come, O Thou Traveler Unknown”:
      Come, O thou Traveller unknown, / Whom still I hold, but cannot see! / My company before is gone, / And I am left alone with Thee; / With Thee all night I mean to stay, / And wrestle till the break of day.
    • 1743, unknown, [18th-century sermon on Ephesians 5:14 in the Bible][1], page 3:
      EPHES. V. 14. Awake thou that ſleepeth, and ariſe from the Dead, and Chriſt shall give thee Light.
    • 2014 October 30, Ben Brantley, “When the head leads the heart: 'The Real Thing,' With Ewan McGregor and Maggie Gyllenhaal, opens on Broadway [print version: When the witty head is far ahead of the heart: Maggie Gyllenhaal and Ewan McGregor star in revival of 'Real Thing', International New York Times, 4 November 2014, p. 9]”, in The New York Times[2]:
      [I]ts main character, Henry (Mr. [Ewan] McGregor), is a successful, intellectual dramatist who seems quite capable of churning out fizzy, challenging works about brilliant but ambivalent revolutionaries, philosophers, etc. [] But this cleverer-than-thou creature gets his comeuppance in "The Real Thing," showing that a very human heart – just like those possessed by the less sesquipedalian – beats beneath his fancy words.
Usage notesEdit
  • Thou is used with the archaic second-person singular of verbs, which usually ends in -est, as in, for example, “Lovest thou me?” Irregular forms include: art (of be), hast (of have), shalt (of shall), wost (of wit), wilt (of will), and dost (of do).
  • Many old uses of thou and ye followed the T–V distinction, thou being the informal pronoun.
Derived termsEdit
See alsoEdit
Further readingEdit

Etymology 2Edit

From Middle English thouen, thowen, from the pronoun.



thou (third-person singular simple present thous, present participle thouing, simple past and past participle thoued)

  1. (transitive) To address (a person) using the pronoun thou, especially as an expression of familiarity or contempt.
    • 1888, Rudyard Kipling, ‘On the City Wall’, In Black and White, Folio Society 2005, p. 443:
      "One service more, Sahib, since thou hast come so opportunely," said Lalun. "Wilt thou" – it is very nice to be thou-ed by Lalun – "take this old man across the City [...] to the Kumharsen Gate?"
    I thou thee, thou traitor! (Edward Coke to Walter Raleigh)
    Avaunt, caitiff, dost thou thou me! I am come of good kin, I tell thee! (The morality play Hickscorner, ca. 1530)
    If thou thou'st him some thrice, it shall not be amiss [...] (Twelfth Night 3.2, Sir Toby Belch to Sir Andrew, egging him on to pick a fight with another, where one would expect one knight courteously to say to another, "If you thou him...").
    Don't thou them as thous thee! (Yorkshire English admonition to overly familiar children)
  2. (intransitive) To use the word thou.

Etymology 3Edit

Shortened from thousandth.



thou (plural thous)

  1. (dated, Britain) A unit of length equal to one-thousandth of an inch.

Etymology 4Edit

Shortened from thousand.



thou (plural thou)

  1. (slang) A thousand, especially a thousand dollars, a thousand pounds sterling, etc.

Etymology 5Edit

Mis-spelling of though


thou (not comparable)

  1. Misspelling of though.



  1. Misspelling of though.


Middle EnglishEdit


thou (objective the, possessive determiner thy, possessive pronoun thyn)

  1. Alternative form of þou