- 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.
- (used by the Friends) a familiar form of address of the second person singular.
- to address as “thou.”
- to use “thou” in discourse.
Origin of thou1
- one thousand dollars, pounds, etc.
Origin of thou2
Examples from the Web for thous
Historical Examples of thous
I'll take three to one in thous, and do it twice, that Guardsman wins, or is placed.
Behold how I have used the senses, the primary conceptions which Thous gavest me.The Golden Sayings of Epictetus
I mighty glad I done wid it, 'kaze my back feel like it done broke in a thous'n pieces.Nights With Uncle Remus
Joel Chandler Harris
Prisoners mother (from the middle of the court): Robert, tell them thous under age, and thy marriage cant stand good.
"Two thous'n three forty-seven pounds," whispered Mr. Shalford audibly, feigning forgetfulness of Kipps.Kipps
H. G. Wells
- archaic, dialect refers to the person addressed: used mainly in familiar address or to a younger person or inferior
- (usually capital) refers to God when addressed in prayer, etc
Word Origin for thou
- one thousandth of an inch. 1 thou is equal to 0.0254 millimetre
- informal short for thousand
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Superseded in Middle English by plural form you (from a different root), but retained in certain dialects (e.g. Philadelphia Quakers).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.