see also: Thing
Pronunciation Noun

thing (plural things)

  1. That which is considered to exist as a separate entity, object, quality or concept.
    • 1611 — King James Version of the Bible, Luke 1:1
      Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us...
  2. A word, symbol, sign, or other referent that can be used to refer to any entity.
  3. An individual object or distinct entity.
  4. (informal) A genuine concept, entity or phenomenon; something that actually exists (often contrary to expectation or belief). [from 20th c.]
    Bacon pie? Is that a thing?
    • 2014, Marianna Papastephanou, ‎Torill Strand, ‎Anne Pirrie, Philosophy as a Lived Experience
      Frequent statements of the kind “'Race' is not a thing”, “'races,' put simply, do not exist”, “'race' (as each essay subtly shows) simply does not exist” aim to discredit Todorov's claim that a relapse to an ontology of race is at place […]
    • 2019, Adam Gopnik, A Thousand Small Sanities, Riverrun 2019, p. 88:
      Conservative philosophy, in other words, is, as we say now, a thing and deserves a serious listen.
  5. (legal)
    1. Whatever can be owned.
    2. Corporeal object.
  6. (somewhat dated, with the) The latest fad or fashion.
    • 1802, Anne Ormsby, "Memoirs of a Family in Swisserland", quoted in The Monthly Review, Or, Literary Journal page 45 ↗:
      To go to bed late, to rise late, to breakfast late, to dine late, and to visit late, is to be “quite the thing,” or in good English, which you may understand better than the first phrase, to be in the fashion.
    • 2002, Roger Nichols, The Harlequin Years: Music in Paris 1917-1929, Univ of California Press (ISBN 9780520237360)
      After a slow start it became the thing to do; 'everyone went to see Pbi-Pbi, no one talked of anything but Pbi-Pbi […] '
  7. (in the plural) Clothes, possessions or equipment.
    Hold on, let me just grab my things.
  8. (informal) A unit or container, usually containing edible goods.
    get me a thing of apple juice at the store;  I just ate a whole thing of jelly beans
    • 2011, Juliette Fay, Deep Down True: A Novel, Penguin (ISBN 9781101486184)
      I came home and ate a whole thing of ice cream.
  9. (informal) A problem, dilemma, or complicating factor.
    The car looks cheap, but the thing is, I have doubts about its safety.
  10. (slang) A penis.
    • 1959, William S. Burroughs, Naked Lunch, 50th anniversary edition (2009), p. 126 ↗:
      “Oh Gertie it’s true. It’s all true. They’ve got a horrid gash instead of a thrilling thing.”
  11. A living being or creature.
    you poor thing;  she's a funny old thing, but her heart's in the right place;  I met a pretty blond thing at the bar
  12. That which matters; the crux.
    that's the thing: we don't know where he went;  the thing is, I don't have any money
  13. Used after a noun to refer dismissively to the situation surrounding the noun's referent.
    Oh yeah, I'm supposed to promote that vision thing.
    • 1914, Eugene Gladstone O'Neill, [ The Movie Man] [playscript]:
      Don’t forget to have Gomez postpone that shooting thing. (in reference to the execution of Fernandez)
  14. (informal) That which is favoured; personal preference. (Used in possessive constructions.)
  15. (chiefly, historical) A public assembly or judicial council in a Germanic country.
    • 1974, Jón Jóhannesson, A History of the Old Icelandic Commonwealth: Íslendinga Saga, translated by Haraldur Bessason, page 46:
      In accordance with Old Germanic custom men came to the thing fully armed, [...]
    • 1974, Jakob Benediktsson, Landnám og upphaf allsherjarríkis, in Saga Íslands, quoted in 1988 by Jesse L. Byock in Medieval Iceland: Society, Sagas, and Power, page 85:
      The goðar seem both to have received payment of thing-fararkaup from those who stayed home and at the same time compensated those who went to the thing, and it cannot be seen whether they had any profit from these transactions.
    • 1988, Jesse L. Byock, Medieval Iceland: Society, Sagas, and Power, page 59:
      All Icelandic things were skap-thing, meaning that they were governed by established procedure and met at regular legally designated intevals at predetermined meeting places.
  16. (informal) A romantic relationship.
Synonyms Related terms Translations Translations Translations Translations Verb

thing (things, present participle thinging; past and past participle thinged)

  1. (rare) To express as a thing; to reify.

Pronunciation Noun

thing (plural things)

  1. (chiefly, historical) A public assembly or judicial council in a Germanic country.
    • 1894, George W. Dasent (translator), The Orkneyingers Saga, Icelandic Sagas, volume 3:
      But when the earl held a Thing, then Thorkell spoke on behalf of the freemen, told the need of the men, and bade the earl spare his people.
    • 1988, Patrick J. Geary, Chapter II, "The Barbarian World in the Sixth Century", 'Germanic Culture', Before France and Germany: the creation and transformation of the Merovingian world, page 55:
      The supreme political unit of the tribe was the assembly of its free male warriors. This assembly, called the "Thing", served as the court of highest instance for dealing with individuals who had broken fundamental elements of the tribal pact, an occasion to meet and to reinforce ties among members, and, often, an assembly which preceded a military campaign.
    • 1997, Bernard Scudder (trans.), Egil's Saga, Penguin 2001 (The Sagas of Icelanders), page 168:
      Before Thorstein left home, he and Asgerd decided to take Arinbjorn's gift, the silk cloak, out of Egil's chest, and Thorstein wore it to the Thing.
    • 2004, Sjúrður Skaale, The Right to National Self-Determination: the Faroe Islands and Greenland, page 46:
      1928 The Executive Committee of the Law Thing is created to assume executive powers from the Governor.
  • French: Thing
  • German: Ding, Thing
  • Italian: ting, thing
  • Portuguese: thing
  • Russian: тинг
  • Spanish: thing

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