\ before consonants usually t͟hə How to pronounce the (audio) , before vowels usually t͟hē, sometimes before vowels also t͟hə; for emphasis before titles and names or to suggest uniqueness often ˈt͟hē How to pronounce the (audio) \

Definition of the

 (Entry 1 of 4)

1a used as a function word to indicate that a following noun or noun equivalent is definite or has been previously specified by context or by circumstance put the cat out
b used as a function word to indicate that a following noun or noun equivalent is a unique or a particular member of its class the Presidentthe Lord
c used as a function word before nouns that designate natural phenomena or points of the compass the night is cold
d used as a function word before a noun denoting time to indicate reference to what is present or immediate or is under consideration in the future
e used as a function word before names of some parts of the body or of the clothing as an equivalent of a possessive adjective how's the arm today
f used as a function word before the name of a branch of human endeavor or proficiency the law
g used as a function word in prepositional phrases to indicate that the noun in the phrase serves as a basis for computation sold by the dozen
h used as a function word before a proper name (as of a ship or a well-known building) the Mayflower
i used as a function word before a proper name to indicate the distinctive characteristics of a person or thing the John Doe that we know wouldn't lie
j used as a function word before the plural form of a surname to indicate all the members of a family the Johnsons
k used as a function word before the plural form of a numeral that is a multiple of ten to denote a particular decade of a century or of a person's life life in the twenties
l used as a function word before the name of a commodity or any familiar appurtenance of daily life to indicate reference to the individual thing, part, or supply thought of as at hand talked on the telephone
m used as a function word to designate one of a class as the best, most typical, best known, or most worth singling out this is the lifethe pill sometimes used before a personal name to denote the most prominent bearer of that name
2a(1) used as a function word with a noun modified by an adjective or by an attributive noun to limit the application of the modified noun to that specified by the adjective or by the attributive noun the right answerPeter the Great
(2) used as a function word before an absolute adjective or an ordinal number nothing but the bestdue on the first
b(1) used as a function word before a noun to limit its application to that specified by a succeeding element in the sentence the poet Wordsworththe days of our youthdidn't have the time to write
(2) used as a function word after a person's name to indicate a characteristic trait or notorious activity specified by the succeeding noun Jack the Ripper
3a used as a function word before a singular noun to indicate that the noun is to be understood generically the dog is a domestic animal
b used as a function word before a singular substantivized adjective to indicate an abstract idea an essay on the sublime
4 used as a function word before a noun or a substantivized adjective to indicate reference to a group as a whole the elite

the

adverb

Definition of the (Entry 2 of 4)

1 : than before : than otherwise used before a comparative none the wiser for attending
2a : to what extent the sooner the better
b : to that extent the sooner the better
3 : beyond all others likes this the best

Definition of the (Entry 3 of 4)

: per sense 2 a dollar the dozen
variants: or theo-

Definition of the- (Entry 4 of 4)

: god : God theism theocentric

First Known Use of the

Definite article

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Adverb

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Preposition

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for the

Definite article and Preposition

Middle English, from Old English thē, masculine demonstrative pronoun & definite article, alteration (influenced by oblique cases — as thæs, genitive — & neuter, thæt) of ; akin to Greek ho, masculine demonstrative pronoun & definite article — more at that

Adverb

Middle English, from Old English thȳ by that, instrumental of thæt that

Combining form

Middle English theo-, from Latin, from Greek the-, theo-, from theos

Learn More About the

Time Traveler for the

Time Traveler

The first known use of the was before the 12th century

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Dictionary Entries Near the

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the

the-

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Cite this Entry

“The.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/the. Accessed 17 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for the

the

definite article
\ especially before consonant sounds t͟hə, before vowel sounds t͟hē, 4 is often ˈt͟hē \

Kids Definition of the

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : that or those mentioned, seen, or clearly understood Put the cat out. I'll take the red one.
2 : that or those near in space, time, or thought What's the news?
3 : each entry 1 There are 40 cookies to the box.
4 : that or those considered best, most typical, or most worth singling out She is the person for this job.
5 : any one typical of or standing for the entire class named Here are useful tips for the beginner.
6 : all those that are the British

the

adverb

Kids Definition of the (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : than before I feel none the wiser for asking.
2 : to what extent : by how much The faster you go, the sooner you'll finish.
3 : to that extent : by that much The more you think, the more you'll learn.

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