noun \ ˈthiŋ \
|Updated on: 15 Jul 2018

Definition of thing

1 : an object or entity not precisely designated or capable of being designated
  • use this thing
2 a : 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
4 a : 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.
5 a 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
6 a : 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
7 a : something (such as an activity) that makes a strong appeal to the individual : forte, specialty
  • letting students do their own thing
  • Newsweek
  • 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
8 a : detail, point
  • checks every little thing
b : a material or substance of a specified kind
  • avoid fatty things
9 a : 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

Examples of thing in a Sentence

  1. What is that thing on the floor?

  2. He is good at making things out of clay.

  3. My doctor told me to avoid fatty things like donuts and potato chips.

  4. We must respect all living things.

  5. Birth is a miraculous thing.

  6. It was the worst thing that could have happened.

  7. That sunset was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.

  8. Let's just forget about the whole thing and move on.

  9. The one thing I hate most is being lied to.

  10. Are all your things packed?

Recent Examples of thing from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of thing

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

THING Defined for Kids


noun \ ˈthiŋ \

Definition of thing for Students

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 : 1detail 2
  • He checks every little thing.
5 things plural : existing conditions and circumstances
  • Things are improving.
6 : event 1
  • The accident was a terrible thing.
7 : 1deed 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 : 2individual 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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to grant as a privilege or special favor

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