- (used to indicate a person, thing, idea, state, event, time, remark, etc., as pointed out or present, mentioned before, supposed to be understood, or by way of emphasis): That is her mother. After that we saw each other.
- (used to indicate one of two or more persons, things, etc., already mentioned, referring to the one more remote in place, time, or thought; opposed to this): This is my sister and that's my cousin.
- (used to indicate one of two or more persons, things, etc., already mentioned, implying a contrast or contradistinction; opposed to this): This suit fits better than that.
- (used as the subject or object of a relative clause, especially one defining or restricting the antecedent, sometimes replaceable by who, whom, or which): the horse that he bought.
- (used as the object of a preposition, with the preposition standing at the end of a relative clause): the farm that I spoke of.
- (used in various special or elliptical constructions): fool that he is.
- (used to indicate a person, place, thing, or degree as indicated, mentioned before, present, or as well-known or characteristic): That woman is her mother. Those little mannerisms of hers make me sick.
- (used to indicate the more remote in time, place, or thought of two persons, things, etc., already mentioned; opposed to this): This room is his and that one is mine.
- (used to imply mere contradistinction; opposed to this): not this house, but that one.
- (used with adjectives and adverbs of quantity or extent) to the extent or degree indicated: that much; The fish was that big.
- to a great extent or degree; very: It's not that important.
- Dialect. (used to modify an adjective or another adverb) to such an extent: He was that weak he could hardly stand.
- (used to introduce a subordinate clause as the subject or object of the principal verb or as the necessary complement to a statement made, or a clause expressing cause or reason, purpose or aim, result or consequence, etc.): I'm sure that you'll like it. That he will come is certain. Hold it up so that everyone can see it.
- (used elliptically to introduce an exclamation expressing desire, a wish, surprise, indignation, or other strong feeling): Oh, that I had never been born!
- at that,
- in spite of something; nevertheless: Although perhaps too elaborate, it seemed like a good plan at that.
- in addition; besides: It was a long wait, and an exasperating one at that.
- that is, (by way of explanation, clarification, or an example); more accurately: I read the book, that is, I read most of it. I believe his account of the story, that is to say, I have no reason to doubt it.Also that is to say.
- that's that, Informal. there is no more to be said or done; that is finished: I'm not going, and that's that!
- that way, Informal. in love or very fond of (usually followed by about or for): The star and the director are that way. I'm that way about coffee.
- with that, following that; thereupon: With that, he turned on his heel and fled.
Origin of that
The relative pronoun that is sometimes omitted. Its omission as a subject is usually considered nonstandard, but the construction is heard occasionally even from educated speakers: A fellow ( that ) lives near here takes people rafting. Most often it is as an object that the relative pronoun is omitted. The omission almost always occurs when the dependent clause begins with a personal pronoun or a proper name: The mechanic ( that ) we take our car to is very competent. The films ( that ) Chaplin made have become classics. The omission of the relative pronoun as in the two preceding examples is standard in all varieties of speech and writing.
13. The conjunction that, which introduces a noun clause, is, like the relative pronoun that, sometimes omitted, often after verbs of thinking, saying, believing, etc.: She said ( that ) they would come in separate cars. He dismissed the idea ( that ) he was being followed. As with the omission of the relative pronoun, the omission of the conjunction almost always occurs when the dependent clause begins with a personal pronoun or with a proper name. This omission of the conjunction that occurs most frequently in informal speech and writing, but it is a stylistic option often chosen in more formal speech and writing.
- used preceding a noun that has been mentioned at some time or is understoodthat idea of yours
- (as pronoun)don't eat that; that's what I mean
- used preceding a noun that denotes something more remote or removedthat dress is cheaper than this one; that building over there is for sale
- (as pronoun)that is John and this is his wife; give me that Compare this
- used to refer to something that is familiarthat old chap from across the street
- and that or and all that informal everything connected with the subject mentionedhe knows a lot about building and that
- at that (completive-intensive) additionally, all things considered, or neverthelesshe's a pleasant fellow at that; I might decide to go at that
- like that
- with ease; effortlesslyhe gave me the answer just like that
- of such a nature, character, etche paid for all our tickets — he's like that
- that is
- to be precise
- in other words
- for example
- that's more like it that is better, an improvement, etc
- that's that there is no more to be done, discussed, etc
- with that or at that thereupon; having said or done that
- used to introduce a noun clauseI believe that you'll come
- Also: so that, in order that used to introduce a clause of purposethey fought that others might have peace
- used to introduce a clause of resulthe laughed so hard that he cried
- used to introduce a clause after an understood sentence expressing desire, indignation, or amazementoh, that I had never lived!
- used with adjectives or adverbs to reinforce the specification of a precise degree already mentionedgo just that fast and you should be safe
- Also: all that (usually used with a negative) informal (intensifier)he wasn't that upset at the news
- dialect (intensifier)the cat was that weak after the fight
- used to introduce a restrictive relative clausethe book that we want
- used to introduce a clause with the verb to be to emphasize the extent to which the preceding noun is applicablegenius that she is, she outwitted the computer
Word Origin for that
Old English þæt, neuter singular of the demonstrative pronoun and adjective (corresponding to masc. se, fem. seo), from Proto-Germanic *that, from PIE *tod-, extended form of demonstrative pronomial base *to- (cf. Sanskrit ta-, Lithuanian and Old Church Slavonic to, Greek to "the," Latin talis "such"). Cf. the.
Emerged c.1200 as a demonstrative adjective with the breakdown of the Old English grammatical gender system, perhaps by influence of French and Latin, which had demonstrative adjectives (Old English did not). Slang that way "in love" first recorded 1929. That-a-way is recorded from 1839. "Take that!" said while delivering a blow, is recorded from early 15c.
In addition, besides, as in The seats were good, and quite cheap at that. [First half of 1800s]
In spite of, nevertheless, as in Although I had to wait a long time for delivery, it was worth it at that. [Mid-1800s]
As it stands, without further changes, as in She wasn't happy with her grade in the course but decided to leave it at that. [Late 1800s]
In addition to the idioms beginning with that
- that ain't hay
- that does it
- that is
- that makes two of us
- that will do
- all's well that ends well
- all that
- all that glitters is not gold
- and all (that)
- as far as that goes
- at that point
- at this (that) rate
- at this (that) stage
- be that as it may
- bite the hand that feeds you
- cross a (that) bridge
- for that matter
- game that two can play
- how about that
- how does that grab you
- how's that
- in order (that)
- in that
- is that a fact
- it (that) figures
- just like that
- just the (that's the) ticket
- last straw (that breaks)
- like that
- look like the cat that ate the canary
- not all that
- not built that way
- now that
- on condition that
- on the chance (that)
- powers that be
- put that in your pipe
- seeing that
- ships that pass in the night
- so that
- suffice it to say that
- tear (that tears) it
- this and that
- to that effect
- when it comes to (that)
- would that
- you can say that again