thing

1
[thing]

noun


Idioms

    do/find one's own thing, Informal. to pursue a lifestyle that expresses one's self.Also do/find one's thing.
    make a good thing of, Informal. to turn (a situation, experience, etc.) to one's own profit; benefit by: She made a good thing of her spare-time hobbies.
    not to get a thing out of,
    1. to be unable to obtain information or news from: The police couldn't get a thing out of him.
    2. to fail to appreciate, understand, or derive aesthetic pleasure from: My wife likes opera, but I don't get a thing out of it.
    see/hear things, Informal. to have hallucinations.

Origin of thing

1
before 900; Middle English; Old English: originally, “meeting”; see thing2
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019


British Dictionary definitions for do one's thing

thing

1

noun

an object, fact, affair, circumstance, or concept considered as being a separate entity
any inanimate object
an object or entity that cannot or need not be precisely named
informal a person or animal regarded as the object of pity, contempt, etcyou poor thing
an event or act
a thought or statement
law any object or right that may be the subject of property (as distinguished from a person)
a device, means, or instrument
(often plural) a possession, article of clothing, etc
informal the normal pattern of behaviour in a particular contextnot interested in the marriage thing
informal a mental attitude, preoccupation or obsession (esp in the phrase have a thing about)
an activity or mode of behaviour satisfying to one's personality (esp in the phrase do one's (own) thing)
the done thing acceptable or normal behaviour
the thing the latest fashion
be on to a good thing to be in a profitable situation or position
make a thing of to make a fuss about; exaggerate the importance of

Word Origin for thing

Old English thing assembly; related to Old Norse thing assembly, Old High German ding assembly

thing

2

noun

(often capital) a law court or public assembly in the Scandinavian countriesAlso: ting

Word Origin for thing

C19: from Old Norse thing assembly (the same word as thing 1)
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

Word Origin and History for do one's thing

thing

n.

Old English þing "meeting, assembly," later "entity, being, matter" (subject of deliberation in an assembly), also "act, deed, event, material object, body, being," from Proto-Germanic *thengan "appointed time" (cf. Old Frisian thing "assembly, council, suit, matter, thing," Middle Dutch dinc "court-day, suit, plea, concern, affair, thing," Dutch ding "thing," Old High German ding "public assembly for judgment and business, lawsuit," German ding "affair, matter, thing," Old Norse þing "public assembly"). Some suggest an ultimate connection to PIE root *ten- "stretch," perhaps on notion of "stretch of time for a meeting or assembly."

For sense evolution, cf. French chose, Spanish cosa "thing," from Latin causa "judicial process, lawsuit, case;" Latin res "affair, thing," also "case at law, cause." Old sense is preserved in second element of hustings and in Icelandic Althing, the nation's general assembly.

Used colloquially since c.1600 to indicate things the speaker can't name at the moment, often with various meaningless suffixes, e.g. thingumbob (1751), thingamajig (1824). Southern U.S. pronunciation thang attested from 1937. The thing "what's stylish or fashionable" is recorded from 1762. Phrase do your thing "follow your particular predilection," though associated with hippie-speak of 1960s is attested from 1841.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with do one's thing

do one's thing

Also, do one's own thing. Pursue one's interests or inclination; do what one does best or enjoys the most. For example, I really give him credit for doing his thing and not being discouraged by what the critics say, or Phyllis is busy doing her own thing, running the magazine and publishing books. Although this colloquialism became closely associated with the counterculture of the 1960s, it is actually much older. In one of his essays (1841) Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote: “But do your thing and I shall know you.” However, it came into wide use only during the mid-1900s.

thing

In addition to the idiom beginning with thing

  • thing or two
  • things are looking up

also see:

  • all the rage (thing)
  • all things to all men
  • amount to the same thing
  • do one's thing
  • first thing
  • first things first
  • for one (thing)
  • get (a thing) going
  • get into the swing of things
  • greatest thing since sliced bread
  • have a good thing going
  • have a thing about
  • just one of those things
  • know all the answers (a thing or two)
  • little knowledge is a dangerous thing
  • near thing
  • no such thing
  • not know beans (the first thing)
  • of all things
  • other things being equal
  • seeing things
  • sure thing
  • the latest (thing)
  • the thing
  • the thing is
  • too much of a good thing
  • very thing
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.