[th ohz]

pronoun, adjective

plural of that.

Origin of those

1300–50; Middle English those, thoos, thas(e), variant of tho (Middle English, Old English thā), plural of that, by association with Middle English thees, thas(e) (Old English thās), plural of this


[th at; unstressed thuh t]

pronoun, plural those.

(used to indicate a person, thing, idea, state, event, time, remark, etc., as pointed out or present, mentioned before, supposed to be understood, or by way of emphasis): That is her mother. After that we saw each other.
(used to indicate one of two or more persons, things, etc., already mentioned, referring to the one more remote in place, time, or thought; opposed to this): This is my sister and that's my cousin.
(used to indicate one of two or more persons, things, etc., already mentioned, implying a contrast or contradistinction; opposed to this): This suit fits better than that.
(used as the subject or object of a relative clause, especially one defining or restricting the antecedent, sometimes replaceable by who, whom, or which): the horse that he bought.
(used as the object of a preposition, with the preposition standing at the end of a relative clause): the farm that I spoke of.
(used in various special or elliptical constructions): fool that he is.

adjective, plural those.

(used to indicate a person, place, thing, or degree as indicated, mentioned before, present, or as well-known or characteristic): That woman is her mother. Those little mannerisms of hers make me sick.
(used to indicate the more remote in time, place, or thought of two persons, things, etc., already mentioned; opposed to this): This room is his and that one is mine.
(used to imply mere contradistinction; opposed to this): not this house, but that one.


(used with adjectives and adverbs of quantity or extent) to the extent or degree indicated: that much; The fish was that big.
to a great extent or degree; very: It's not that important.
Dialect. (used to modify an adjective or another adverb) to such an extent: He was that weak he could hardly stand.


(used to introduce a subordinate clause as the subject or object of the principal verb or as the necessary complement to a statement made, or a clause expressing cause or reason, purpose or aim, result or consequence, etc.): I'm sure that you'll like it. That he will come is certain. Hold it up so that everyone can see it.
(used elliptically to introduce an exclamation expressing desire, a wish, surprise, indignation, or other strong feeling): Oh, that I had never been born!

Origin of that

before 900; Middle English; Old English thæt (pronoun, adj., adv. and conjunction), orig., neuter of se the; cognate with Dutch dat, German das(s), Old Norse that, Greek tó, Sanskrit tad
Can be confusedthat which (see usage note at the current entry)

Usage note

4. When that introduces a relative clause, the clause is usually restrictive; that is, essential to the complete meaning of the sentence because it restricts or specifies the noun or pronoun it modifies. In the sentence The keys that I lost last month have been found, it is clear that keys referred to are a particular set. Without the that clause, the sentence The keys have been found would be vague and probably puzzling. That is used to refer to animate and inanimate nouns and thus can substitute in most uses for who ( m ) and which: Many of the workers that (or who ) built the pyramids died while working. The negotiator made an offer that (or which ) was very attractive to the union. Experienced writers choose among these forms not only on the basis of grammar and the kind of noun referred to but also on the basis of sound of the sentence and their own personal preference.
The relative pronoun that is sometimes omitted. Its omission as a subject is usually considered nonstandard, but the construction is heard occasionally even from educated speakers: A fellow ( that ) lives near here takes people rafting. Most often it is as an object that the relative pronoun is omitted. The omission almost always occurs when the dependent clause begins with a personal pronoun or a proper name: The mechanic ( that ) we take our car to is very competent. The films ( that ) Chaplin made have become classics. The omission of the relative pronoun as in the two preceding examples is standard in all varieties of speech and writing.
13. The conjunction that, which introduces a noun clause, is, like the relative pronoun that, sometimes omitted, often after verbs of thinking, saying, believing, etc.: She said ( that ) they would come in separate cars. He dismissed the idea ( that ) he was being followed. As with the omission of the relative pronoun, the omission of the conjunction almost always occurs when the dependent clause begins with a personal pronoun or with a proper name. This omission of the conjunction that occurs most frequently in informal speech and writing, but it is a stylistic option often chosen in more formal speech and writing. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for those

Contemporary Examples of those

Historical Examples of those

  • Those less than the very best frankly esteem it a privilege.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • Do you mean that my father was mixed up like those old Indians?

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • There are quiet and very decent places for those of us that must.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • Here we see but a few of the last links, and those imperfectly.


    Lydia Maria Child

  • Yes—I'm hungry for both, and some of those funny little cakes.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

British Dictionary definitions for those



the form of that used before a plural noun

Word Origin for those

Old English thās, plural of this


determiner (used before a singular noun)

  1. used preceding a noun that has been mentioned at some time or is understoodthat idea of yours
  2. (as pronoun)don't eat that; that's what I mean
  1. used preceding a noun that denotes something more remote or removedthat dress is cheaper than this one; that building over there is for sale
  2. (as pronoun)that is John and this is his wife; give me that Compare this
used to refer to something that is familiarthat old chap from across the street
and that or and all that informal everything connected with the subject mentionedhe knows a lot about building and that
at that (completive-intensive) additionally, all things considered, or neverthelesshe's a pleasant fellow at that; I might decide to go at that
like that
  1. with ease; effortlesslyhe gave me the answer just like that
  2. of such a nature, character, etche paid for all our tickets — he's like that
that is
  1. to be precise
  2. in other words
  3. for example
that's more like it that is better, an improvement, etc
that's that there is no more to be done, discussed, etc
with that or at that thereupon; having said or done that

conjunction (subordinating)

used to introduce a noun clauseI believe that you'll come
Also: so that, in order that used to introduce a clause of purposethey fought that others might have peace
used to introduce a clause of resulthe laughed so hard that he cried
used to introduce a clause after an understood sentence expressing desire, indignation, or amazementoh, that I had never lived!


used with adjectives or adverbs to reinforce the specification of a precise degree already mentionedgo just that fast and you should be safe
Also: all that (usually used with a negative) informal (intensifier)he wasn't that upset at the news
dialect (intensifier)the cat was that weak after the fight


used to introduce a restrictive relative clausethe book that we want
used to introduce a clause with the verb to be to emphasize the extent to which the preceding noun is applicablegenius that she is, she outwitted the computer

Word Origin for that

Old English thæt; related to Old Frisian thet, Old Norse, Old Saxon that, Old High German daz, Greek to, Latin istud, Sanskrit tad


Precise stylists maintain a distinction between that and which : that is used as a relative pronoun in restrictive clauses and which in nonrestrictive clauses. In the book that is on the table is mine, the clause that is on the table is used to distinguish one particular book (the one on the table) from another or others (which may be anywhere, but not on the table). In the book, which is on the table, is mine, the which clause is merely descriptive or incidental. The more formal the level of language, the more important it is to preserve the distinction between the two relative pronouns; but in informal or colloquial usage, the words are often used interchangeably
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 those

Midlands and southern variant of Old English þas, nominative and accusative plural of þes, þeos "this" (see this).



Old English þæt, neuter singular of the demonstrative pronoun and adjective (corresponding to masc. se, fem. seo), from Proto-Germanic *that, from PIE *tod-, extended form of demonstrative pronomial base *to- (cf. Sanskrit ta-, Lithuanian and Old Church Slavonic to, Greek to "the," Latin talis "such"). Cf. the.

Emerged c.1200 as a demonstrative adjective with the breakdown of the Old English grammatical gender system, perhaps by influence of French and Latin, which had demonstrative adjectives (Old English did not). Slang that way "in love" first recorded 1929. That-a-way is recorded from 1839. "Take that!" said while delivering a blow, is recorded from early 15c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with those


see just one of those things; one of those days.


In addition to the idioms beginning with that

  • that ain't hay
  • that does it
  • that is
  • that makes two of us
  • that will do

also see:

  • all's well that ends well
  • all that
  • all that glitters is not gold
  • and all (that)
  • as far as that goes
  • at that point
  • at this (that) rate
  • at this (that) stage
  • be that as it may
  • bite the hand that feeds you
  • cross a (that) bridge
  • for that matter
  • game that two can play
  • how about that
  • how does that grab you
  • how's that
  • in order (that)
  • in that
  • is that a fact
  • it (that) figures
  • just like that
  • just the (that's the) ticket
  • last straw (that breaks)
  • like that
  • look like the cat that ate the canary
  • not all that
  • not built that way
  • now that
  • on condition that
  • on the chance (that)
  • powers that be
  • put that in your pipe
  • seeing that
  • ships that pass in the night
  • so that
  • suffice it to say that
  • tear (that tears) it
  • this and that
  • to that effect
  • when it comes to (that)
  • would that
  • you can say that again
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.