[ stressed th ee; unstressed before a consonant th uh; unstressed before a vowel th ee ]
/ stressed ði; unstressed before a consonant ðə; unstressed before a vowel ði /
(used, especially before a noun, with a specifying or particularizing effect, as opposed to the indefinite or generalizing force of the indefinite article a or an): the book you gave me; Come into the house.
(used to mark a proper noun, natural phenomenon, ship, building, time, point of the compass, branch of endeavor, or field of study as something well-known or unique): the sun; the Alps; the Queen Elizabeth; the past; the West.
(used with or as part of a title): the Duke of Wellington; the Reverend John Smith.
(used to mark a noun as indicating the best-known, most approved, most important, most satisfying, etc.): the skiing center of the U.S.; If you're going to work hard, now is the time.
(used to mark a noun as being used generically): The dog is a quadruped.
(used in place of a possessive pronoun, to note a part of the body or a personal belonging): He won't be able to play football until the leg mends.
(used before adjectives that are used substantively, to note an individual, a class or number of individuals, or an abstract idea): to visit the sick; from the sublime to the ridiculous.
(used before a modifying adjective to specify or limit its modifying effect): He took the wrong road and drove miles out of his way.
(used to indicate one particular decade of a lifetime or of a century): the sixties; the Gay Nineties.
(one of many of a class or type, as of a manufactured item, as opposed to an individual one): Did you listen to the radio last night?
enough: He saved until he had the money for a new car. She didn't have the courage to leave.
(used distributively, to note any one separately) for, to, or in each; a or an: at one dollar the pound.
Political Euphemisms: The Good, The Bad, The UglyRead more in this article about some frequently asked questions and fun facts related to our definitions.
Origin of the1
before 900; Middle English, Old English, uninflected stem of the demonstrative pronoun. See that
As shown above, the pronunciation of the definite article the changes, primarily depending on whether the following sound is a consonant or a vowel. Before a consonant sound the pronunciation is [th uh] /ðə/: the book, the mountain [th uh-book, th uh-moun-tn] /ðə bɒɒk, ðəˈmaʊn tn/. Before a vowel sound it is usually [th ee] /ði/, sometimes [th i] /ðɪ/: the apple, the end [th ee or th i-ap-uh l, th ee or th i-end] /ði or ðɪˈæp əl, ði or ðɪ ɛnd/. As an emphatic form (“I didn't say a book—I said the book.”) or a citation form (“The word the is a definite article.”), the usual pronunciation is [th ee] /ði/, although in both of these uses of the stressed form, [th ee] /ði/ is often replaced by [th uh] /ðʌ/, especially among younger speakers.
Definition for the (2 of 3)
[ before a consonant th uh; before a vowel th ee ]
/ before a consonant ðə; before a vowel ði /
(used to modify an adjective or adverb in the comparative degree and to signify “in or by that,” “on that account,” “in or by so much,” or “in some or any degree”): He's been on vacation and looks the better for it.
(used in correlative constructions to modify an adjective or adverb in the comparative degree, in one instance with relative force and in the other with demonstrative force, and signifying “by how much … by so much” or “in what degree … in that degree”): the more the merrier; The bigger they are, the harder they fall.
Definition for the (3 of 3)
variant of theo- before a vowel: thearchy.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
British Dictionary definitions for the (1 of 3)
/ (stressed or emphatic ðiː, unstressed before a consonant ðə, unstressed before a vowel ðɪ) /
used preceding a noun that has been previously specifiedthe pain should disappear soon; the man then opened the door Compare a 1
used with a qualifying word or phrase to indicate a particular person, object, etc, as distinct from othersask the man standing outside; give me the blue one Compare a 1
used preceding certain nouns associated with one's culture, society, or communityto go to the doctor; listen to the news; watch the television
used preceding present participles and adjectives when they function as nounsthe singing is awful; the dead salute you
used preceding titles and certain uniquely specific or proper nouns, such as place namesthe United States; the Honourable Edward Brown; the Chairman; the moon
used preceding a qualifying adjective or noun in certain names or titlesWilliam the Conqueror; Edward the First
used preceding a noun to make it refer to its class genericallythe white seal is hunted for its fur; this is good for the throat; to play the piano
used instead of my, your, her, etc, with parts of the bodytake me by the hand
(usually stressed) the best, only, or most remarkableHarry's is the club in this town
used with proper nouns when qualifiedwritten by the young Hardy
another word for per, esp with nouns or noun phrases of costfifty pence the pound
often facetious, or derogatory my; ourthe wife goes out on Thursdays
used preceding a unit of time in phrases or titles indicating an outstanding person, event, etcmatch of the day; player of the year
Word Origin for the
Middle English, from Old English thē, a demonstrative adjective that later superseded sē (masculine singular) and sēo, sio (feminine singular); related to Old Frisian thi, thiu, Old High German der, diu
British Dictionary definitions for the (2 of 3)
/ (ðə, ðɪ) /
(often foll by for) used before comparative adjectives or adverbs for emphasisshe looks the happier for her trip
used correlatively before each of two comparative adjectives or adverbs to indicate equalitythe sooner you come, the better; the more I see you, the more I love you
Word Origin for the
Old English thī, thӯ, instrumental case of the 1 and that; related to Old Norse thī, Gothic thei
British Dictionary definitions for the (3 of 3)
a variant of theo-
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