\ ˈthiŋ \

Definition of thing 

1 : an object or entity not precisely designated or capable of being designated use this thing

2a : an inanimate object distinguished from a living being

b : a separate and distinct individual quality, fact, idea, or usually entity

c : the concrete entity as distinguished from its appearances

d : a spatial entity

3 : individual not a living thing in sight

4a : a matter of concern : affair many things to do

b things plural : state of affairs in general or within a specified or implied sphere things are improving

c : a particular state of affairs : situation look at this thing another way

d : event, circumstance Meeting her was a wonderful thing.

5a things plural : possessions, effects pack your things

b : whatever may be possessed or owned or be the object of a right

c : an article of clothing not a thing to wear

d things plural : equipment or utensils especially for a particular purpose bring the tea things

6a : deed, act, accomplishment do great things

b : a product of work or activity likes to build things

c : the aim of effort or activity the thing is to get well

7a : something (such as an activity) that makes a strong appeal to the individual : forte, specialty letting students do their own thingNewsweek I think travelling is very much a novelist's thing —Philip Larkin

b : a mild obsession or phobia has a thing about driving also : the object of such an obsession or phobia

8a : detail, point checks every little thing

b : a material or substance of a specified kind avoid fatty things

9a : idea, notion says the first thing he thinks of

b : a piece of news or information couldn't get a thing out of him

c : a spoken or written observation or point

10 : the proper or fashionable way of behaving, talking, or dressing used with the

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Examples of thing in a Sentence

What is that thing on the floor? He is good at making things out of clay. My doctor told me to avoid fatty things like donuts and potato chips. We must respect all living things. Birth is a miraculous thing. It was the worst thing that could have happened. That sunset was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. Let's just forget about the whole thing and move on. The one thing I hate most is being lied to. Are all your things packed?
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Recent Examples on the Web

Both brothers enjoyed building things, and industrial arts was a new subject in many high schools. Anne M. Hamilton,, "He Brought His Skill For Teaching, Knack For Colonial Buildings To Coventry," 15 July 2018 Shark Week, the annual TV celebration to all things sharks, marks its 30th year this summer with a wave of new episodes featuring celebrities and scientists. Johnny Diaz,, "'Shark Week' returns to Miami for 30th anniversary and features appearances by 'Gronk' and 'Shark Tank' stars," 13 July 2018 One thing, however, that wasn't talked about was the inclusion of plus size models in the shows. Alyssa Hardy, Teen Vogue, "There Was Only One Plus Size Model During Men's Fashion Week," 13 July 2018 Point guard Shaq Harrison did, well, Shaq Harrison things in Vegas. Scott Bordow, azcentral, "Phoenix Suns' summer-league takeaways: Deandre Ayton's progress, efforts of Davon Reed, Shaq Harrison," 13 July 2018 Many of them said money or material things, Fratanduono-Meo said, but her son’s answer? Erin Mccarthy,, "Tom Meo: An ever-curious extrovert devoted to his family," 13 July 2018 These seem unconnected, but for one thing: the name. Alissa Wilkinson, Vox, "What two fictional Gileads can teach us about America in 2018," 12 July 2018 This, as much as any one thing, capsized the Hoosiers in 2017. Zach Osterman, Indianapolis Star, "Insider: 5 burning questions facing IU football in 2018," 12 July 2018 And the thing that Tom Brady and company chuck around cheerfully? Martin Rogers, USA TODAY, "Sorry, England: the USA is right to call football 'soccer'," 12 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'thing.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of thing

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 4a

History and Etymology for thing

Middle English, from Old English, thing, assembly; akin to Old High German ding thing, assembly, Goth theihs time

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Statistics for thing

Last Updated

23 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for thing

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

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More Definitions for thing


\ ˈthiŋ \

Kids Definition of thing

1 : an act or matter that is or is to be done I have a thing or two to take care of. You did the right thing.

2 : something that exists and can be talked about Nouns name people and things. Say the first thing that pops into your mind. How do you work this thing?

3 things plural : personal possessions Pack your things, we're leaving.

4 : detail entry 1 sense 2 He checks every little thing.

5 things plural : existing conditions and circumstances Things are improving.

6 : event sense 1 The accident was a terrible thing.

7 : deed entry 1 sense 1, achievement, act We expect great things from them.

8 : a piece of clothing not a thing to wear

9 : what is needed or wanted It's just the thing for a cold.

10 : an action or interest especially that someone enjoys very much Music is my thing.

11 : individual entry 2 sense 1 “I can't stand reptiles. Get that thing away from me!” —Judy Blume, Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing

12 : a spoken or written observation or point Mrs. Kemp was shocked. “What a thing to say about your little friend.” —Beverly Cleary, Ramona Quimby

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Comments on thing

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an open space surrounded by woods

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