- (used to indicate a person, thing, idea, state, event, time, remark, etc., as present, near, just mentioned or pointed out, supposed to be understood, or by way of emphasis): This is my coat.
- (used to indicate one of two or more persons, things, etc., referring to the one nearer in place, time, or thought; opposed to that): This is Liza and that is Amy.
- (used to indicate one of two or more persons, things, etc., implying a contrast or contradistinction; opposed to that): I'd take that instead of this.
- what is about to follow: Now hear this! Watch this!
- (used to indicate a person, place, thing, or degree as present, near, just indicated or mentioned, or as well-known or characteristic): These people are my friends. This problem has worried me for a long time.
- (used to indicate the nearer in time, place, or thought of two persons, things, etc.; opposed to that).
- (used to imply mere contradistinction; opposed to that).
- (used in place of an indefinite article for emphasis): I was walking down the street when I heard this explosion.
- (used with adjectives and adverbs of quantity or extent) to the extent or degree indicated: this far; this softly.
- with this, following this; hereupon: With this, he threw down his glass and left the table.
Origin of this
- used preceding a noun referring to something or someone that is closer: distinct from thatthis dress is cheaper than that one; look at this picture
- (as pronoun)this is Mary and that is her boyfriend; take this
- used preceding a noun that has just been mentioned or is understoodthis plan of yours won't work
- (as pronoun)I first saw this on Sunday
- used to refer to something about to be said, read, etcconsider this argument
- (as pronoun)listen to this
- the present or immediatethis time you'll know better
- (as pronoun)before this, I was mistaken
- informal often used in storytelling, an emphatic form of a 1, the 1 I saw this big brown bear
- this and that various unspecified and trivial actions, matters, objects, etc
- this here US not standard an emphatic form of this (def. 1), this (def. 2), this (def. 3)
- with this or at this after this; thereupon
- used with adjectives and adverbs to specify a precise degree that is about to be mentionedgo just this fast and you'll be safe
Word Origin and History for this
Old English þis, neuter demonstrative pronoun and adjective (masc. þes, fem. þeos), probably from a North Sea Germanic pronoun formed by combining the base *þa- (see that) with -s, which is probably identical with Old English se "the" (representing here "a specific thing"), but it may be Old English seo, imperative of see (v.) "to behold." Cf. Old Saxon these, Old Norse þessi, Dutch deze, Old Frisian this, Old High German deser, German dieser.
Once fully inflected, with 10 distinct forms (see table below); the oblique cases and other genders gradually fell away by 15c. The Old English plural was þæs (nominative and accusative), which in Northern Middle English became thas, and in Midlands and Southern England became thos. The Southern form began to be used late 13c. as the plural of that (replacing Middle English tho, from Old English þa) and acquired an -e (apparently from the influence of Middle English adjective plurals in -e; cf. alle from all, summe from sum "some"), emerging early 14c. as modern those.
About 1175 thes (probably a variant of Old English þæs) began to be used as the plural of this, and by 1200 it had taken the form these, the final -e acquired via the same mechanism that gave one to those.