thole

1 of 2

verb

tholed; tholing
chiefly dialectal
: endure

thole

2 of 2

noun

1
: either of a pair of pins set in the gunwale of a boat to hold an oar in place
2
: peg, pin

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The Long History of Thole

Thole has a long history in the English language. It existed in Middle English in its current form, and in Old English in the form tholian, but in these modern times, it tholes only in a few of England's northern dialects. It has, however, a linguistic cousin far more familiar to most English speakers: the word tolerate traces back to Latin tolerare, meaning "to endure, put up with," and tolerare and tholian share a kinship with the Greek verb tlēnai, meaning "to bear." Unrelated to our featured word thole, there is another (also very old) thole, which can be used as a synonym of peg or pin, or can refer to either of a pair of pins set in the gunwale of a boat to hold an oar in place.

Word History

Etymology

Verb

Middle English, from Old English tholian — more at tolerate

Noun

Middle English tholle, from Old English thol; akin to Old Norse thollr fir tree, peg, Greek tylos knob, callus

First Known Use

Verb

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

Noun

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

Time Traveler
The first known use of thole was before the 12th century

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Dictionary Entries Near thole

Cite this Entry

“Thole.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/thole. Accessed 27 May. 2024.

Kids Definition

thole

noun
ˈthōl
variants also tholepin
-ˌpin
: a peg or pin on the rim of a boat that holds an oar in place
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