ˈthü How to pronounce thew (audio)
: muscular power or development
: muscle, sinew
usually used in plural

Did you know?

Thew has had a long, difficult past during which it discovered its strengths and weaknesses. In Middle English it carried a number of meanings, referring to a custom, habit, personal quality, or virtue. The word began to tire in the 16th century but was soon revitalized with a new meaning: it began to be used specifically for the quality of physical strength and later for the muscles demonstrating that quality. In time, the word buddied up with "sinew" in both literal and figurative turns of phrase, as in "the thews and sinews of my body ached" and "their love affair was the thew and sinew of the story."

Examples of thew in a Sentence

a prizefighter of unparalleled thew in the boxing world

Word History


Middle English, personal quality, virtue, from Old English thēaw; akin to Old High German thau custom

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of thew was in the 15th century


Dictionary Entries Near thew

Cite this Entry

“Thew.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Mar. 2024.

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