\ ˈthü How to pronounce thew (audio) , ˈthyü \

Definition of thew

1a : muscular power or development
2 : muscle, sinew usually used in plural

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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

First Known Use of thew

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

History and Etymology for thew

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

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

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Cite this Entry

“Thew.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Jan. 2021.

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