thew
Pronunciation
  • IPA: /θjuː/, /θuː/
Noun

thew (plural thews)

  1. (obsolete) A bondman; a slave.
Adjective

thew

  1. (obsolete) Bond; servile.
Verb

thew (thews, present participle thewing; past and past participle thewed)

  1. (transitive, obsolete) To oppress; enslave.
Noun

thew (plural thews)

  1. Muscle or sinew.
    • 1927, P. G. Wodehouse, 'The Small Bachelor', Arrow, 2008, page 247
      As a rule, the Purple Chicken catered for the intelligentsia of the neighbourhood, and these did not run to thews and sinews. On most nights in the week you would find the tables occupied by wispy poets and slender futurist painters...
    • 1960, Thomas Pynchon, Low-Lands
      Fortune’s elf child and disinherited darling, young and randy and more a Jolly Jack Tar than anyone human could conceivably be; thews and chin taut against a sixty-knot gale with a well-broken-in briar clenched in the bright defiant teeth
  2. A good quality or habit; virtue.
    • c. 1379, Geoffrey Chaucer, The House of Fame, 1829-34,
      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. (usually plural) An attractive physical attribute, especially muscle; mental or moral vigour.
    • c. 1599, William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act I, Scene 3, 495-8
      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,
      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,
      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.
Verb

thew (thews, present participle thewing; past and past participle thewed)

  1. Instruct in morals or values; chastise.



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