Pronunciation Article
  1. Definite grammatical article that implies necessarily that an entity it articulates is presupposed; something already mentioned, or completely specified later in that same sentence, or assumed already completely specified. [from 10th c.]
    I’m reading the book. (Compare I’m reading a book.)
    The street in front of your house. (Compare A street in Paris.)
    The men and women watched the man give the birdseed to the bird.
    • 2016, [ VOA Learning English] (public domain)
      I sleep in the bedroom!
  2. Used before a noun modified by a restrictive relative clause, indicating that the noun refers to a single referent defined by the relative clause.
    The street that runs through my hometown.
  3. Used before an object considered to be unique, or of which there is only one at a time. [from 10th c.]
    No one knows how many galaxies there are in the universe.
    God save the Queen!
  4. Used before a superlative or an ordinal number modifying a noun, to indicate that the noun refers to a single item.
    That was the best apple pie ever.
  5. Added to a superlative or an ordinal number to make it into a substantive. [from 9th c.]
    That apple pie was the best.
  6. Introducing a singular term to be taken generically: preceding a name of something standing for a whole class. [from 9th c.]
    • 1994, Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom, Abacus 2010, page 536:
      Stern and God-fearing, the Afrikaner takes his religion seriously.
  7. Used before an adjective, indicating all things (especially persons) described by that adjective. [from 9th c.]
    Feed the hungry, clothe the naked, comfort the afflicted, and afflict the comfortable.
  8. Used to indicate a certain example of (a noun) which is usually of most concern or most common or familiar. [from 12th c.]
    No one in the whole country had seen it before.
    I don't think I'll get to it until the morning.
  9. Used before a body part (especially of someone previously mentioned), as an alternative to a possessive pronoun. [from 12th c.]
    A stone hit him on the head. (= “A stone hit him on his head.”)
  10. When stressed, indicates that it describes an object which is considered to be best or exclusively worthy of attention. [from 18th c.]
    That is the hospital to go to for heart surgery.
Synonyms Translations Translations
  • French: le
  • Italian: il
  • Portuguese: o
  • Spanish: el
Translations Translations
  • French: le
  • German: der
  • Portuguese: o ([+ superl.])
Translations Translations
  • French: le
  • German: der
  • Italian: il
  • Portuguese: o
  • Spanish: el
  • French: le
  • German: der
  • Italian: il
  • Portuguese: o
  • Spanish: el

the (not comparable)

  1. The hotter(,) the better. comma usually omitted in such very short expressions
    The more I think about it, the weaker it looks.
    The more money donated, the more books purchased, and the more happy children.
    It looks weaker and weaker, the more I think about it.
  2. It was a difficult time, but I’m the wiser for it.
    It was a difficult time, and I’m none the wiser for it.
    I'm much the wiser for having had a difficult time like that.
  • French: comp., comp.; colloquial or regional usage, not Standard French: le + comp., le + comp.
  • German: je + comp., desto + comp.; je + comp., umso + comp.; je + comp., je + comp.
  • Portuguese: quanto + comp. , comp. (ex: quanto mais quente, melhor "the hotter the better")
  • Russian: чем + comp., тем + comp.
  • Spanish: cuanto + comp., comp.
Translations Preposition
  1. For each; per.
    valued at half a pound the bushel ; paying seven dollars the year interest

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