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[proh-noun] /ˈproʊˌnaʊn/
noun, Grammar.
any member of a small class of words found in many languages that are used as replacements or substitutes for nouns and noun phrases, and that have very general reference, as I, you, he, this, who, what. Pronouns are sometimes formally distinguished from nouns, as in English by the existence of special objective forms, as him for he or me for I, and by nonoccurrence with an article or adjective.
Origin of pronoun
1520-30; < Middle French pronom < Latin prōnōmen (stem prōnōmin-). See pro-1, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for pronouns
Historical Examples
  • pronouns, prepositions, conjunctions may or rather must recur in successive lines.

    Cratylus Plato
  • The particles and pronouns, as they are of most frequent occurrence, are also the most troublesome.

    Charmides Plato
  • pronouns are usually capitalized when they refer to the Deity.

    The Verbalist Thomas Embly Osmun, (AKA Alfred Ayres)
  • What is the usage as to pronouns referring to God and the other persons of the Trinity?

    Capitals Frederick W. Hamilton
  • In the triumph of her lurid ending, Theodora made havoc of her pronouns.

    Teddy: Her Book Anna Chapin Ray
  • "I'm going to trust you," Lady Enid went on, emphasising the two pronouns.

  • It will not be necessary to add the pronouns to every tense.

  • "He's coming," she said listlessly, careless of the use of pronouns.

    Moor Fires

    E. H. (Emily Hilda) Young
  • This "Haberdasher of pronouns" was a person of the name of Margot.

    Pelham, Complete Edward Bulwer-Lytton
  • The pronouns are, for the most part, words used instead of nouns.

    Elements of Gaelic Grammar Alexander Stewart
British Dictionary definitions for pronouns


one of a class of words that serves to replace a noun phrase that has already been or is about to be mentioned in the sentence or context pron
Word Origin
C16: from Latin prōnōmen, from pro-1 + nōmen noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for pronouns



mid-15c., from pro- and noun; modeled on Middle French pronom, from Latin pronomen, from pro- "in place of" + nomen "name, noun" (see name (n.)). A loan-translation of Greek antonymia.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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pronouns in Culture

pronoun definition

A word that takes the place of a noun. She, herself, it, and this are examples of pronouns. If we substituted pronouns for the nouns in the sentence “Please give the present to Karen,” it would read “Please give it to her.”

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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