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thee

[th ee]
pronoun
  1. the objective case of thou1: With this ring, I thee wed. I shall bring thee a mighty army.
  2. thou (now used chiefly by the Friends).
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Origin of thee

before 900; Middle English; Old English thē (orig. dative; later dative and accusative); cognate with Low German di, German dir, Old Norse thēr. See thou1

thou1

[th ou]
pronoun, singular, nominative thou; possessive thy or thine; objective thee; plural, nominative you or ye; possessive your or yours; objective you or ye.
  1. 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.
  2. (used by the Friends) a familiar form of address of the second person singular.
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verb (used with object)
  1. to address as “thou.”
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verb (used without object)
  1. to use “thou” in discourse.
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Origin of thou1

before 900; Middle English; Old English thū; cognate with German, Middle Dutch du, Old Norse thū, Gothic thu, Old Irish tú, Welsh, Cornish ti, Latin tū, Doric Greek tý, Lithuanian tù, OCS ty; akin to Sanskrit tvam; (v.) late Middle English thowen, derivative of the pronoun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for thee

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • I have sought for thee throughout the world, and at last I believed thee dead.

    Philothea

    Lydia Maria Child

  • Headley is a well-reported, God-fearing man, and will do well by thee.

    The Armourer's Prentices

    Charlotte M. Yonge

  • “Yet mayhap he might do something for thee, friend Ambrose,” added the armourer.

    The Armourer's Prentices

    Charlotte M. Yonge

  • One fragrant breath of thee is as a waft of the joys of my youth!

    The Armourer's Prentices

    Charlotte M. Yonge

  • I would I were my brother, your honour,” said Ambrose, “then would I climb the thee.

    The Armourer's Prentices

    Charlotte M. Yonge


British Dictionary definitions for thee

thee

pronoun
  1. the objective form of thou 1
  2. (subjective) rare refers to the person addressed: used mainly by members of the Society of Friends
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Word Origin

Old English thē; see thou 1

thou1

pronoun (subjective)
  1. archaic, dialect refers to the person addressed: used mainly in familiar address or to a younger person or inferior
  2. (usually capital) refers to God when addressed in prayer, etc
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Word Origin

Old English thū; related to Old Saxon thū, Old High German du, Old Norse thū, Latin tū, Doric Greek tu

thou2

noun plural thous or thou
  1. one thousandth of an inch. 1 thou is equal to 0.0254 millimetre
  2. informal short for thousand
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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 thee

pron.

Old English þe (accusative and dative singular of þu "thou"), from Proto-Germanic *theke (cf. Old Frisian thi, Middle Dutch di, Old High German dih, German dich, Old Norse þik, Norwegian deg, Gothic þuk), from PIE *tege-. A brief history of the second person pronoun in English can be found here. The verb meaning "to use the pronoun 'thee' to someone" is recorded from 1662, from the rise of Quakerism (see thou).

This was the Bottom upon which the Quakers first set up, to run down all worldly Honour ...; to Thee and Thou; to call no Man Master, or Lord, and not to take off their Hats, or Bow to any. [Charles Leslie, "The Snake in the Grass," 1696]
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thou

pron.

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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper