View synonyms for thing



[ thing ]


  1. a material object without life or consciousness; an inanimate object.
  2. some entity, object, or creature that is not or cannot be specifically designated or precisely described:

    The stick had a brass thing on it.

  3. anything that is or may become an object of thought:

    things of the spirit.

  4. things, matters; affairs:

    Things are going well now.

  5. a fact, circumstance, or state of affairs:

    It is a curious thing.

  6. an action, deed, event, or performance:

    to do great things; His death was a horrible thing.

  7. a particular, respect, or detail:

    perfect in all things.

  8. an aim; objective:

    The thing is to reach this line with the ball.

  9. an article of clothing:

    I don't have a thing to wear.

  10. things,
    1. implements, utensils, or other articles for service:

      I'll wash the breakfast things.

    2. personal possessions or belongings:

      Pack your things and go!

  11. a task; chore:

    I've got a lot of things to do today.

  12. a living being or creature:

    His baby's a cute little thing.

  13. a thought or statement:

    I have just one thing to say to you.

  14. Informal. a particular interest or talent:

    Sports is not my thing.

  15. Informal. a peculiar attitude or feeling, either positive or negative, toward something; mental quirk:

    She has a thing about cats.

  16. something signified or represented, as distinguished from a word, symbol, or idea representing it.
  17. a topic, behavior, or activity involving or limited to a specified group:

    It’s a girl thing, so you wouldn’t understand.

  18. Informal. something that people do (often used in expressions of mild disapproval or mockery):

    Since when did clapping at the end of a movie become a thing?

  19. Law. anything that may be the subject of a property right.
  20. new thing, Jazz. free jazz.
  21. the thing,
    1. something that is correct or fashionable:

      That caf é is the thing now.

    2. that which is expedient or necessary:

      The thing to do is to tell them the truth.



[ thing, ting ]


  1. (in Scandinavian countries) a public meeting or assembly, especially a legislative assembly or a court of law. Compare thingstead.



/ θɪŋ /


  1. an object, fact, affair, circumstance, or concept considered as being a separate entity
  2. any inanimate object
  3. an object or entity that cannot or need not be precisely named
  4. informal.
    a person or animal regarded as the object of pity, contempt, etc

    you poor thing

  5. an event or act
  6. a thought or statement
  7. law any object or right that may be the subject of property (as distinguished from a person)
  8. a device, means, or instrument
  9. often plural a possession, article of clothing, etc
  10. informal.
    the normal pattern of behaviour in a particular context

    not interested in the marriage thing

  11. informal.
    a mental attitude, preoccupation or obsession (esp in the phrase have a thing about )
  12. an activity or mode of behaviour satisfying to one's personality (esp in the phrase do one's ( own ) thing )
  13. the done thing
    acceptable or normal behaviour
  14. the thing
    the latest fashion
  15. be on to a good thing
    to be in a profitable situation or position
  16. make a thing of
    to make a fuss about; exaggerate the importance of



/ θɪŋ; tɪŋ /


  1. often capital a law court or public assembly in the Scandinavian countries Alsoting

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Word History and Origins

Origin of thing1

First recorded before 900; Middle English; Old English: originally, “meeting”; thing 2none

Origin of thing2

First recorded in 1820–30; from Old Norse: “assembly, meeting”; cognate with thing 1, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish ting, Dutch ding, German Ding “thing,” originally, “meeting”; akin to Gothic theihs “time”

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Word History and Origins

Origin of thing1

Old English thing assembly; related to Old Norse thing assembly, Old High German ding assembly

Origin of thing2

C19: from Old Norse thing assembly (the same word as thing 1)

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Idioms and Phrases

  1. do / find one's own thing, Informal. to pursue a lifestyle that expresses one's self. Also dofind one's thing.
  2. make a good thing of, Informal. to turn (a situation, experience, etc.) to one's own profit; benefit by:

    She made a good thing of her spare-time hobbies.

  3. not to get a thing out of,
    1. to be unable to obtain information or news from:

      The police couldn't get a thing out of him.

    2. to fail to appreciate, understand, or derive aesthetic pleasure from:

      My wife likes opera, but I don't get a thing out of it.

  4. see / hear things, Informal. to have hallucinations.

More idioms and phrases containing thing

In addition to the idiom beginning with thing , also see all the rage (thing) ; all things to all men ; amount to the same thing ; do one's thing ; first thing ; first things first ; for one (thing) ; get (a thing) going ; get into the swing of things ; greatest thing since sliced bread ; have a good thing going ; have a thing about ; just one of those things ; know all the answers (a thing or two) ; little knowledge is a dangerous thing ; near thing ; no such thing ; not know beans (the first thing) ; of all things ; other things being equal ; seeing things ; sure thing ; the latest (thing) ; the thing ; the thing is ; too much of a good thing ; very thing .

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Example Sentences

That will probably be a theme for the whole year, but it is good timing for us to reset, focus on our game, get some key guys back and get other guys back who are nursing some things.

That almost cost me my life, but it’s also the things that saved my life.

“Probably more can be done than just masks and distancing because we are doing all those things and if that alone was enough, we wouldn’t be in this situation,” he said.

If you’ve been struggling to give your business the boost it deserves, implementing these strategies will go a long way in turning things around.

To say that a certain percentage of our population is not able to do these things in this day and age is not morally right, it’s not fair, and it is has to be dealt with.

There is no such thing as speech so hateful or offensive it somehow “justifies” or “legitimizes” the use of violence.

“They sure took the Sony thing seriously,” Attkisson said dryly.

But the other thing that needs to be done is for us citizens to do.

No one seems to know who that is—or why they would want to do such a thing.

When I was in Holland, this is the kind of thing people feared.

"There's just one thing I'd like to ask, if you don't mind," said Cynthia, coming suddenly out of a brown study.

That it is a reasonable and proper thing to ask our statesmen and politicians: what is going to happen to the world?

Of course the expression of this value is modified and characterized by the nature of the thing spoken of.

It is only just to say, that the officers exhibited a degree of courage far beyond any thing we had expected from them.

And is this a mere fantastic talk, or is this a thing that could be done and that ought to be done?


Definitions and idiom definitions from Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

Idioms from The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.




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