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their

[th air; unstressed th er]
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pronoun
  1. a form of the possessive case of they used as an attributive adjective, before a noun: their home; their rights as citizens; their departure for Rome.
  2. (used with a singular indefinite pronoun or singular noun antecedent in place of the definite masculine his or the definite feminine her): Someone left their book on the table. It's good for the teacher to have high expectations for their students.
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Compare theirs.

Origin of their

1150–1200; Middle English < Old Norse theirra their; replacing Old English thāra, thǣra; cf. they
Can be confusedtheir there they're

Usage note

See he1, me, they.

he1

[hee; unstressed ee]
pronoun, nominative he, possessive his, objective him; plural nominative they, possessive their or theirs, objective them.
  1. the male person or animal being discussed or last mentioned; that male.
  2. anyone (without reference to gender); that person: He who hesitates is lost.
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noun, plural hes.
  1. any male person or animal; a man: hes and shes.
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adjective
  1. male (usually used in combination): a he-goat.
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Origin of he1

before 900; Middle English, Old English (masculine nominative singular); cognate with Dutch hij, Old Saxon hē, Old High German her he; see his, him, she, her, it1

Usage note

Traditionally, the masculine singular pronouns he1 , his, and him have been used generically to refer to indefinite pronouns like anyone, everyone, and someone ( Everyone who agrees should raise his right hand ) and to singular nouns that can be applied to either gender ( painter, parent, person, teacher, writer, etc.): Every writer knows that his first book is not likely to be a bestseller. This generic use is often criticized as sexist, although many speakers and writers continue the practice.
Those who object to the generic use of he have developed various ways of avoiding it. One is to use he/she or she/he (or he or she or she or he ) or the appropriate case forms of these pairs: Everyone who agrees should raise his or her (or her or his or his/her or her/his ) right hand. Forms blending the feminine and masculine pronouns, as s/he, have not been widely adopted, probably because of confusion over how to say them.
Another solution is to change the antecedent pronoun or noun from singular to plural so that the plural pronouns they, their, and them can be used: All who agree should raise their right hands. All writers know that their first books are not likely to be bestsellers. See also they.

it1

[it]
pronoun, nominative it, possessive its or (Obsolete or Dialect) it, objective it; plural nominative they, possessive their or theirs, objective them.
  1. (used to represent an inanimate thing understood, previously mentioned, about to be mentioned, or present in the immediate context): It has whitewall tires and red upholstery. You can't tell a book by its cover.
  2. (used to represent a person or animal understood, previously mentioned, or about to be mentioned whose gender is unknown or disregarded): It was the largest ever caught off the Florida coast. Who was it? It was John. The horse had its saddle on.
  3. (used to represent a group understood or previously mentioned): The judge told the jury it must decide two issues.
  4. (used to represent a concept or abstract idea understood or previously stated): It all started with Adam and Eve. He has been taught to believe it all his life.
  5. (used to represent an action or activity understood, previously mentioned, or about to be mentioned): Since you don't like it, you don't have to go skiing.
  6. (used as the impersonal subject of the verb to be, especially to refer to time, distance, or the weather): It is six o'clock. It is five miles to town. It was foggy.
  7. (used in statements expressing an action, condition, fact, circumstance, or situation without reference to an agent): If it weren't for Edna, I wouldn't go.
  8. (used in referring to something as the origin or cause of pain, pleasure, etc.): Where does it hurt? It looks bad for the candidate.
  9. (used in referring to a source not specifically named or described): It is said that love is blind.
  10. (used in referring to the general state of affairs; circumstances, fate, or life in general): How's it going with you?
  11. (used as an anticipatory subject or object to make a sentence more eloquent or suspenseful or to shift emphasis): It is necessary that you do your duty. It was a gun that he was carrying.
  12. Informal. (used instead of the pronoun its before a gerund): It having rained for only one hour didn't help the crops.
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noun
  1. (in children's games) the player called upon to perform some task, as, in tag, the one who must catch the other players.
  2. Slang.
    1. sex appeal.
    2. sexual intercourse.
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Idioms
  1. get with it, Slang. to become active or interested: He was warned to get with it or resign.
  2. have it, Informal.
    1. to love someone: She really has it bad for him.
    2. to possess the requisite abilities for something; be talented, adept, or proficient: In this business youeither have it or you don't.
  3. with it, Slang.
    1. aware of the latest fads, fashions, etc.; up-to-date.
    2. attentive or alert: I'm just not with it early in the morning.
    3. understanding or appreciative of something, as jazz.
    4. Carnival Slang.being a member of the carnival.
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Origin of it1

before 900; Middle English, variant of Middle English, Old English hit, neuter of he1

Usage note

See me.

she

[shee]
pronoun, singular nominative she, possessive her or hers, objective her; plural nominative they, possessive their or theirs, objective them.
  1. the female person or animal being discussed or last mentioned; that female.
  2. the woman: She who listens learns.
  3. anything considered, as by personification, to be feminine: spring, with all the memories she conjures up.
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noun, plural shes.
  1. a female person or animal.
  2. an object or device considered as female or feminine.
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Origin of she

1125–75; Middle English, alteration of Old English sēo, sīo, sīe, feminine of se the1; replacing Old English hēo, hīo, feminine personal pronoun; see he1, her

Usage note

See he1, me, they.

they

[th ey]
pronoun, possessive their or theirs, objective them.
  1. nominative plural of he, she, and it1.
  2. people in general: They say he's rich.
  3. (used with a singular indefinite pronoun or singular noun antecedent in place of the definite masculine he or the definite feminine she): Whoever is of voting age, whether they are interested in politics or not, should vote. A person may apply only if they are over 21. They have been an actor since childhood.
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Origin of they

1150–1200; Middle English < Old Norse their they (replacing Old English hī(e)); cognate with Old English thā, plural of thæt that

Usage alert

Long before the use of generic he was condemned as sexist, the pronouns they, their, and them were used in educated speech and in all but the most formal writing to refer to singular indefinite pronouns or singular nouns of general personal reference (which are often not felt to be exclusively singular): If anyone calls, tell them I'll be back soon. A parent should read to their child. Such use is not a recent development, nor is it a mark of ignorance. Shakespeare, Swift, Shelley, Scott, and Dickens, as well as many other English and American writers, have used they and its related case forms to refer to singular antecedents. Already widespread in the language (though still rejected as ungrammatical by some), this use of they, their, and them is increasing in all but the most conservatively edited American English. This increased use is at least partly impelled by the desire to avoid generic he or the awkward he/she and he or she when the antecedent’s gender is not known or when the referent is of mixed gender: The victim had money and jewelry taken from them. It’s hard to move an aging mother or father from their long-term home.
However, while use of they and its forms after singular indefinite pronouns or singular nouns of general personal reference or indefinite gender is common and generally acceptable, their use to refer to a single clearly specified, known, or named person is uncommon and likely to be noticed and criticized, as in this example: My hair stylist had their car stolen. Even so, use of they, their, and them is increasingly found in contexts where the antecedent is a gender-nonconforming individual or one who does not identify as male or female: Tyler indicated their preferences on their application.
And although they may be used as a singular pronoun, they still takes a plural verb, analogous to the use of "you are" to refer to one person: The student brought in a note to show why they were absent. See also he1.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for their

their

determiner
  1. of, belonging to, or associated in some way with themtheir finest hour; their own clothes; she tried to combat their mocking her
  2. belonging to or associated in some way with people in general not including the speaker or people addressedin many countries they wash their clothes in the river
  3. belonging to or associated in some way with an indefinite antecedent such as one, whoever, or anybodyeveryone should bring their own lunch
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Word Origin

C12: from Old Norse theira (genitive plural); see they, them

xref

See they

He

the chemical symbol for
  1. helium
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HE

abbreviation for
  1. high explosive
  2. His Eminence
  3. His (or Her) Excellency
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IT

abbreviation for
  1. information technology
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she

pronoun (subjective)
  1. refers to a female person or animalshe is a doctor; she's a fine mare
  2. refers to things personified as feminine, such as cars, ships, and nations
  3. Australian and NZ an informal word for it 1 (def. 3) she's apples; she'll be right
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noun
    1. a female person or animal
    2. (in combination)she-cat
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Word Origin

Old English sīe, accusative of sēo, feminine demonstrative pronoun

xref

See me 1

he1

pronoun (subjective)
  1. refers to a male person or animalhe looks interesting; he's a fine stallion
  2. refers to an indefinite antecedent such as one, whoever, or anybodyeverybody can do as he likes in this country
  3. refers to a person or animal of unknown or unspecified sexa member of the party may vote as he sees fit
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noun
    1. a male person or animal
    2. (in combination)he-goat
    1. a children's game in which one player chases the others in an attempt to touch one of them, who then becomes the chaserCompare tag 2
    2. the person chasingCompare it 1 (def. 7)
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Word Origin

Old English hē; related to Old Saxon hie, Old High German her he, Old Slavonic this, Latin cis on this side

he2

noun
  1. the fifth letter of the Hebrew alphabet (ה), transliterated as h
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he3

interjection
  1. an expression of amusement or derisionAlso: he-he!, hee-hee!
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it1

pronoun (subjective or objective)
  1. refers to a nonhuman, animal, plant, or inanimate thing, or sometimes to a small babyit looks dangerous; give it a bone
  2. refers to an unspecified or implied antecedent or to a previous or understood clause, phrase, etcit is impossible; I knew it
  3. used to represent human life or experience either in totality or in respect of the present situationhow's it going?; I've had it; to brazen it out
  4. used as a formal subject (or object), referring to a following clause, phrase, or wordit helps to know the truth; I consider it dangerous to go on
  5. used in the nominative as the formal grammatical subject of impersonal verbs. When it functions absolutely in such sentences, not referring to any previous or following clause or phrase, the context is nearly always a description of the environment or of some physical sensationit is raining; it hurts
  6. (used as complement with be) informal the crucial or ultimate pointthe steering failed and I thought that was it
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noun
  1. (in children's games) the player whose turn it is to try to touch anotherCompare he 1 (def. 5b)
  2. informal
    1. sexual intercourse
    2. sex appeal
  3. informal a desirable quality or abilityhe's really got it
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Word Origin

Old English hit

it2

the internet domain name for
  1. Italy
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they

pronoun (subjective)
  1. refers to people or things other than the speaker or people addressedthey fight among themselves
  2. refers to unspecified people or people in general not including the speaker or people addressedin Australia they have Christmas in the summer
  3. not standard refers to an indefinite antecedent such as one, whoever, or anybodyif anyone objects, they can go
  4. an archaic word for those blessed are they that mourn
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Word Origin

C12: thei from Old Norse their, masculine nominative plural, equivalent to Old English thā

usage

It was formerly considered correct to use he, him, or his after pronouns such as everyone, no-one, anyone, or someone as in everyone did his best, but it is now more common to use they, them, or their, and this use has become acceptable in all but the most formal contexts: everyone did their best
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 their

c.1200, from Old Norse þierra, genitive of þeir "they" (see they). Replaced Old English hiera. Use with singular objects, scorned by grammarians, is attested from c.1300. Theirs (c.1300) is a double possessive. Alternative form theirn (1836) is attested in Midlands and southern dialect in U.K. and the Ozarks region of the U.S.

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they

pron.

c.1200, from Old Norse þeir, originally masculine plural demonstrative pronoun, from Proto-Germanic *thai, nominative plural pronoun, from PIE *to- (see that). Gradually replaced Old English hi, hie, plurals of he, heo, hit (see he, she, it) by c.1400. Colloquial use for "anonymous people in authority" is attested from 1886.

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it

pron.

Old English hit, neuter nominative and accusative of third person singular pronoun, from Proto-Germanic demonstrative base *khi- (cf. Old Frisian hit, Dutch het, Gothic hita "it"), from PIE *ko- "this" (see he). Used in place of any neuter noun, hence, as gender faded in Middle English, it took on the meaning "thing or animal spoken about before."

The h- was lost due to being in an unemphasized position, as in modern speech the h- in "give it to him," "ask her," "is only heard in the careful speech of the partially educated" [Weekley]. It "the sex act" is from 1610s; meaning "sex appeal (especially in a woman)" first attested 1904 in works of Rudyard Kipling, popularized 1927 as title of a book by Elinor Glyn, and by application of It Girl to silent-film star Clara Bow (1905-1965). In children's games, meaning "the one who must tag the others" is attested from 1842.

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she

pron.

mid-12c., probably evolving from Old English seo, sio (accusative sie), fem. of demonstrative pronoun se "the," from PIE root *so- "this, that" (see the). The Old English word for "she" was heo, hio, however by 13c. the pronunciation of this had converged by phonetic evolution with he "he," which apparently led to the fem. demonstrative pronoun being used in place of the pronoun (cf. similar development in Dutch zij, German sie, Greek he, etc.). The original h- survives in her. A relic of the Old English pronoun is in Manchester-area dialectal oo "she." As a noun meaning "a female," she is attested from 1530s.

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he

pron.

Old English he (see paradigm of Old English third person pronoun below), from Proto-Germanic *hi- (cf. Old Saxon, Old Frisian, Middle Dutch he, hi, Dutch hy, Old High German he), from PIE *ki-, variant of *ko-, the "this, here" (as opposed to "that, there") root (cf. Hittite ki "this," Greek ekeinos "that person," Old Church Slavonic si, Lithuanian šis "this"), and thus the source of the third person pronouns in Old English. The feminine, hio, was replaced in early Middle English by forms from other stems (see she), while the h- wore off Old English neuter hit to make modern it. The Proto-Germanic root also is the source of the first element in German heute "today," literally "the day" (cf. Old English heodæg).

caseSINGULAR--PLURAL
-masc.neut.fem.(all genders)
nom.hehitheo, hiohie, hi
acc.hinehithie, hihie, hi
gen.hishishirehira, heora
dat.himhimhirehim, heom

Pleonastic use with the noun ("Mistah Kurtz, he dead") is attested from late Old English. With animal words, meaning "male" (he-goat, etc.) from c.1300.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

their in Medicine

He

  1. The symbol for the elementhelium

their in Science

He


Idioms and Phrases with their

it

they