Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “thing”

See all translations

thing

noun uk   /θɪŋ/ us  

thing noun (OBJECT)

A1 [C] used to refer in an approximate way to an object or to avoid naming it: What's that thing over there? There are some nice things in the shops this summer. I don't eat sweet things (= sweet food). How does this damn thing work?things [plural]
More examples
A1 your possessions or a particular set of your possessions: All their things were destroyed in the fire. Bring your swimming things if the weather's nice. a particular set of objects: Let me help you clear away the tea things (= cups, plates, etc. that are used for having tea).
More examples

thing noun (IDEA/EVENT)

A2 [C] used to refer in an approximate way to an idea, subject, event, action, etc.: That was an unkind thing to say. I've got so many things to do I don't know where to start. Your information is correct but you left out one thing. "What's the matter?" "It's this insurance thing. I'm really worried about it."the thing [C] the exact fact, object, idea, event, etc.: Your letter has told me precisely the thing I needed to know.the real thing something that is not false or a copy: The fire alarm goes off accidentally so often that when it's the real thing (= when it really does happen) nobody will take any notice.the same thing B1 the same: Training isn't the same thing as education.the whole thing B2 everything that has been planned or discussed: Let's call the whole thing off. I want to forget the whole thing.above all things more than everything else: I value my freedom above all things.in all things in every situation or subject; in everything: Be true to yourself in all things.if there's one thing I want to know, find out, etc. said before describing what it is that you especially want to know: If there's one thing I want to know, it's where he goes on Thursday afternoons.
More examples

thing noun (SITUATION)

things B1 [plural] used to refer to the general situation: Things have been going very well recently.it's a good thing B2 If it's a good thing that something happened, it is lucky that it happened: It's a good thing (that) we booked our tickets early.the way things are ( also as things stand) in the present situation: The way things are, I'll never have this ready by June.

thing noun (ANYTHING/EVERYTHING)

a thing B1 [S]
More examples
used instead of "anything" or "everything" to emphasize what you are saying: Don't worry about a thing (= anything). I'll take care of it.
not a (single) thing B2 not anything: After the guests had gone, there wasn't a thing left to eat.not have a thing to wear B1 ( also have nothing to wear) humorous to have no clothes that are suitable for an occasion: I'm going to a wedding on Saturday and I don't have a thing to wear.there isn't a thing you can do you cannot do anything: He broke his promise and there wasn't a thing we could do about it.

thing noun (ACTION)

a/one thing [S] used to talk about a particular action, agreement, etc.: I went by plane, a thing I hardly ever do. One thing you'll have to agree to is working in the evenings.the ... thing [S] used to make noun phrases with particular adjectives and adverbs: The first thing (to do) is to write your name at the top of the page.

thing noun (REASON)

for one thing C2 used to introduce a reason for something: "Why won't you come to New York with me?" "For one thing, I don't like flying, and for another, I can't afford it."

thing noun (PERSON/ANIMAL)

B2 [C] used after an adjective to refer to a person or animal with love or sympathy: The poor things were kept in small cages without room to move. [as form of address] You lucky thing, winning a car!
(Definition of thing from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
What is the pronunciation of thing?
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

Definitions of “thing” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day

glacial

made or left by a glacier

Word of the Day

Let’s celebrate! (words and phrases for parties)

by Kate Woodford,
December 17, 2014
​​​ With Christmas and New Year almost upon us, we thought it a good time to look at the language of parties and celebrations. First, let’s start with the word ‘party’ itself. To have or throw a party or, less commonly, to give a party is to arrange a party: We’re having a

Read More 

cinderella surgery noun

December 15, 2014
cosmetic surgery to the feet We have all heard of people having nose jobs, boob jobs and liposuction – but now a new trend growing in popularity in America: Cinderella surgery.

Read More