\ ˈt͟hau̇ How to pronounce thou (audio) \

Definition of thou

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: the one addressed thou shalt have no other gods before me — Exodus 20:3 (King James Version) used especially in ecclesiastical or literary language and by Friends as the universal form of address to one person — compare thee, thine, thy, ye, you


thoued; thouing; thous

Definition of thou (Entry 2 of 3)

transitive verb

: to address as thou


\ ˈthau̇ How to pronounce thou (audio) \
plural thou

Definition of thou (Entry 3 of 3)

: a thousand of something (such as dollars) paid 25 thou for the car

Examples of thou in a Sentence


She earns more than a hundred thou a year.

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Now must thou return to the gallows and walk to the pine counting thy steps. Quanta Magazine, "Solution: ‘How to Find Simple Treasures in Complex Numbers’," 22 Mar. 2019 Arizona Renaissance Festival Would thou wish to partake in a giant, greasy turkey leg whilst watching a live jousting tournament? Sonja Haller, azcentral, "Ultimate Arizona bucket list: 14 things to do in Pinal County," 18 Feb. 2015

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Better thou hadst not been born than not to have pleased me better. Paula Marantz Cohen, WSJ, "Shakespeare’s Uncomfortable Message for Baby Boomers," 26 Oct. 2018 Then said the king unto her, What wilt thou, queen Esther? and what is thy request? National Geographic, "Did Queen Esther’s beauty or bravery foil a massacre?," 8 Mar. 2019 But only in The Feral Detective is there a ritualized hand-to-hand combat to the death in a desert arena, followed by a dinner party at a hipper-than-thou resort. Constance Grady, Vox, "Jonathan Lethem’s Feral Detective is a mess. But it’s a fun mess.," 27 Nov. 2018 Set during a time when people spoke in thou’s and thee’s, Robert Eggers’ Puritan nightmare explores the coming-of-age of a might-be witch (Anya Taylor-Joy). Julie Kosin, Harper's BAZAAR, "The 28 Best Halloween Movies on Netflix," 11 Oct. 2018 The holier-than-thou hypocrisy of big media companies who lay claim to the truth, but publish only enough to sugarcoat the lie, is why the public no longer respects them. Howard Kurtz, Fox News, "Elon Musk veers off the road in assailing the media," 29 May 2018 And those journalists deserve to be heralded — just not in this holier-than-thou cinematic cri de coeur. Kerry Lengel, azcentral, "Liberal outrage in Rob Reiner's 'Shock and Awe'," 12 July 2018 One of them said, the sixth commandment is, thou shalt not admit adultery. Harry Bruinius, The Christian Science Monitor, "In Plains, Ga., an evangelical politician like no other," 11 July 2018 Catherine Lew, Principal and Co-Founder of The Lew Edwards Group Where art thou, voter? Amy Chance, sacbee, "California Influencers: What did we learn from the June primary election, and why?," 11 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'thou.' 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 thou


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above


15th century, in the meaning defined above


1867, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for thou


Middle English, from Old English thū; akin to Old High German thou, Latin tu, Greek sy


short for thousand

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Time Traveler for thou

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

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English Language Learners Definition of thou

 (Entry 1 of 2)

old-fashioned + literary used as a singular form of "you" when it is the subject of a verb



English Language Learners Definition of thou (Entry 2 of 2)

US, informal : a thousand dollars


\ ˈt͟hau̇ How to pronounce thou (audio) \

Kids Definition of thou

: you “But can thou do a true enchantment?”— Jon Scieszka, Knights of the Kitchen Table
Hint: Thou is a very old word that still appears in books and sayings from long ago. People also use it to imitate that old way of speaking.

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More from Merriam-Webster on thou

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with thou

Spanish Central: Translation of thou

Nglish: Translation of thou for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of thou for Arabic Speakers

Comments on thou

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a small bunch of flowers

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