- Archaic except in some elevated or ecclesiastical prose. the personal pronoun of the second person singular in the nominative case (used to denote the person or thing addressed): Thou shalt not kill.
- (used by the Friends) a familiar form of address of the second person singular.
- to address as “thou.”
- to use “thou” in discourse.
Origin of thou1
- one thousand dollars, pounds, etc.
Origin of thou2
Examples from the Web for thou
In an arms races to prove they are holier than thou, rabbis add more and more prohibitions and prerequisites.Why Ultra-Orthodox Jewish Babies Keep Getting Herpes
July 29, 2014
Three times,” he says angrily, “thou shalt betray me ere the cock crows.The Stacks: The Judas Priest Teen Suicide Trial
June 28, 2014
Go forth of the ark, thou, and thy wife, and thy sons, and thy sons' wives with thee.The Story of Noah's Ark From the Bible’s Book of Genesis
The Daily Beast
March 24, 2014
According to the politest version, the Cossacks replied: Thou Turkish Devil!Cossacks: The Cowboys of Crimea
March 12, 2014
American declinism is the prophetic motif: If you will pray, thou shalt be redeemed.Sunday Q&A: Josef Joffe on the Myth of American Decline
November 17, 2013
I fly to seek a kindlier sphere, Since thou hast ceased to love me here.
"Stranger, thou hast not yet learned the fashions of Athens," said Anaxagoras, gravely.
“Thou art a big fellow for a school,” said his uncle, looking him over.
“Thou shouldst bring him one of these days,” said Sir Thomas.
“Thou hast been in trouble,” she said, leaning on the baluster above him.
- archaic, dialect refers to the person addressed: used mainly in familiar address or to a younger person or inferior
- (usually capital) refers to God when addressed in prayer, etc
- one thousandth of an inch. 1 thou is equal to 0.0254 millimetre
- informal short for thousand
Word Origin and History for thou
2nd nominative singular personal pronoun, Old English þu, from Proto-Germanic *thu (cf. Old Frisian thu, Middle Dutch and Middle Low German du, Old High German and German du, Old Norse þu, Gothic þu), from PIE *tu-, second person singular pronoun (cf. Latin tu, Irish tu, Welsh ti, Greek su, Lithuanian tu, Old Church Slavonic ty, Sanskrit twa-m).
Superseded in Middle English by plural form you (from a different root), but retained in certain dialects (e.g. Philadelphia Quakers). The plural at first was used in addressing superior individuals, later also (to err on the side of propriety) strangers, and ultimately all equals. By c.1450 the use of thou to address inferiors gave it a tinge of insult unless addressed by parents to children, or intimates to one another. Hence the verb meaning "to use 'thou' to a person" (mid-15c.).
Avaunt, caitiff, dost thou thou me! I am come of good kin, I tell thee! ["Hickscorner," c.1530]
A brief history of the second person pronoun in English can be found here.