Word of the Day : February 26, 2010


noun THOO


1 a : muscular power or development

b : strength, vitality

2 : muscle, sinew -- usually used in plural

Did You Know?

"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."


"Care I for the limb, the thews, the stature, bulk, and big / assemblance of a man! Give me the spirit," retorts Falstaff to Justice Shallow in Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 2.


More Words of the Day

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!