• synonyms


  1. Usually thews. muscle or sinew.
  2. thews, physical strength.
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Origin of thew

before 900; Middle English; Old English thēaw custom, usage; cognate with Old High German thau (later dau) discipline; akin to Latin tuērī to watch
Related formsthew·y, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for thews

backbone, body, brawn, clout, courage, durability, energy, firmness, force, fortitude, health, healthiness, might, muscle, nerve, physique, pith, potence, potency, power

Examples from the Web for thews

Historical Examples of thews

  • Hath he no the smooth face o' a bairn and the thews' o' Behemoth?'

    Micah Clarke

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • When your thews are grown it will not be on thuribles they'll spend their strength, or I'm a liar else.

    The Strolling Saint

    Raphael Sabatini

  • None could find fault with their thews and sinews, and as for their spirit, it is for us to see it does not fail.



  • The expression upon his face showed that his will was as strong as his thews and sinews.

    The Champdoce Mystery

    Emile Gaboriau

  • And the King thought he had mightily grown in stature and thews.

British Dictionary definitions for thews


  1. muscle, esp if strong or well-developed
  2. (plural) muscular strength
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Derived Formsthewy, adjectivethewless, adjective

Word Origin for thew

Old English thēaw; related to Old Saxon, Old High German thau discipline, Latin tuērī to observe, tūtus secure
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 thews


Old English þeawes "customs, manners, personal qualities," plural of þeaw "habit, custom," from Proto-Germanic *thawaz (cf. Old Saxon thau "usage, custom, habit," Old High German thau "discipline"); no certain cognates outside West Germanic and of unknown origin. Meaning "bodily powers or parts indicating strength, good physique" is attested from 1560s, from notion of "good qualities." Acquired a sense of "muscular development" when it was revived by Scott (1818).

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Old English þeaw; see thews.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper