[ thangks-giv-ing ]
/ ˌθæŋksˈgɪv ɪŋ /
Save This Word!

the act of giving thanks; grateful acknowledgment of benefits or favors, especially to God.
an expression of thanks, especially to God.
a public celebration in acknowledgment of divine favor or kindness.
a day set apart for giving thanks to God.
(initial capital letter) Thanksgiving Day.


Do Other Countries Have A Thanksgiving?

Is the United States the only country in the world to celebrate Thanksgiving? These two hosts figure it out.

There are grammar debates that never die; and the ones highlighted in the questions in this quiz are sure to rile everyone up once again. Do you know how to answer the questions that cause some of the greatest grammar debates?
Question 1 of 7
Which sentence is correct?

Origin of thanksgiving

1525–35; thank + -s3 + give + -ing1

OTHER WORDS FROM thanksgiving

pre-Thanks·giv·ing, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does thanksgiving mean?

The word thanksgiving means the act of expressing or feeling thankfulness.

In other words, it’s the act of giving thanks for what you’re grateful for.

This sense of the word is often used in a religious context. For example, a prayer of thanksgiving involves praying to express gratitude for the blessings in one’s life.

The word thanksgiving is also used as the name of a national holiday celebrated in the United States and Canada. It’s officially known as Thanksgiving Day but is commonly just called Thanksgiving. It is observed in the U.S. on the fourth Thursday of November, and in Canada on the second Monday of October.

Today, the Thanksgiving holiday in the U.S. is traditionally celebrated with family gatherings and a large meal, especially one that includes a roast turkey. Other traditional Thanksgiving dishes include mashed potatoes, stuffing or dressing, and pumpkin pie. The association with eating turkey has led to the informal nickname Turkey Day.

Example: A lot of people forget that Thanksgiving is not just a time for gathering and eating but for actual thanksgiving—acknowledging all of the things we have to be thankful for.

Where does thanksgiving come from?

The first records of the word thanksgiving come from around 1530. The word has been used as the name of a holiday since the 1600s. The first records of the term Thanksgiving Day come from around the 1670s.

The history of the Thanksgiving holiday in the U.S. is often traced back to the 1621 harvest meal that is believed to have been attended by Pilgrim colonists in Plymouth Colony, Massachusetts, and members of the Wampanoag Tribe of Native Americans. While historians do believe that the two groups were in fact present together at that time, many of the details surrounding their relations and the nature of the meeting have been mythologized. There is certainly no evidence that the event was seen as the start of a holiday tradition at the time.

The first official national Thanksgiving holiday was set by President George Washington in 1789, but it was a one-time event. It wasn’t until 1863 that Thanksgiving was officially declared as an annual national holiday by President Abraham Lincoln. But the holiday was not connected to the history of the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag until later. The holiday remained on the fourth Thursday of November until 1939, when it was moved to the third Thursday of November. It went back to being on the fourth Thursday in 1942.

Thanksgiving became an annual national holiday in Canada in 1879 and was set as the second Monday in October in 1957. Earlier celebrations of Thanksgiving in Canada were inspired by the U.S. holiday. Today, it’s often celebrated similarly, with family gatherings and large meals.

Did you know ... ?

What are some synonyms for thanksgiving?

What are some synonyms for Thanksgiving?

What are some words that share a root or word element with thanksgiving

What are some words that often get used in discussing thanksgiving?

How is thanksgiving used in real life?

Thanksgiving is most commonly used as the name of the holiday. When used in a general sense, it is often used in a religious context.


Try using thanksgiving!

Which of the following words is NOT a synonym of the general sense of thanksgiving?

A. gratitude
B. thankfulness
C. supplication
D. gratefulness

How to use thanksgiving in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for thanksgiving

/ (ˈθæŋksˌɡɪvɪŋ, US θæŋksˈɡɪvɪŋ) /

the act of giving thanks
  1. an expression of thanks to God
  2. a public act of religious observance or a celebration in acknowledgment of divine favours
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