thing Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary Cambridge dictionaries logo

Meaning of “thing” in the English Dictionary

"thing" in British English

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thingnoun

uk   us   /θɪŋ/
  • thing noun (OBJECT)

A1 [C] used to refer in an ​approximate way to an ​object or to ​avoidnaming it: What's that thing over there? There are some ​nice things in the ​shops this ​summer. I don't ​eatsweet things (= ​sweetfood). How does this ​stupid thing ​work?things [plural]

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A1 UK your possessions or a ​particular set of ​your possessions: All ​their things were ​destroyed in the ​fire. Bring ​yourswimming 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).

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  • 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 ​exactfact, ​object, ​idea, ​event, etc.: The ​article was ​exactly the thing I ​needed for my ​research.the real thing something that is not ​false or a ​copy: The ​firealarm 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 aseducation.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 ​especiallywant to ​know: If there's one thing I ​want to ​know, it's where he goes on ​Thursdayafternoons.

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  • thing noun (SITUATION)

things B1 [plural] used to refer to the ​generalsituation: 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 ​bookedourtickets early.the way things are (also as things stand) in the ​presentsituation: The way things are, I'll never have this ​ready by ​June.
  • thing noun (ANYTHING/EVERYTHING)

a thing B1 [S]

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  • I couldn't ​see a thing because my ​glasses had ​fogged up.
  • "Did it ​hurt?" "Not at all - I didn't ​feel a thing."
  • I'm ​afraid there's not a ​bloody thing you can do about it.
  • I didn't have to do a thing - Robin had ​arranged everything.
  • He doesn't really ​know a thing about the ​theatre - he's just ​posing!
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 ​particularaction, ​agreement, etc.: I went by ​plane, a thing I ​hardlyever do. One thing you'll have to ​agree to is ​working in the ​evenings.the ... thing [S] used to make ​nounphrases with ​particularadjectives and ​adverbs: The first thing (to do) is to write ​yourname at the ​top of the ​paper.
  • 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 ​smallcages without ​room to ​move. [as form of address] I can't ​believe you ​won - you ​lucky thing!
(Definition of thing from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"thing" in American English

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thingnoun [C]

 us   /θɪŋ/
  • thing noun [C] (OBJECT)

a ​device, ​product, or ​part of ​nature that is not named: There’s a new thing that ​sealsplasticbags. There are some ​nice things in the ​stores on ​saleright now.your things Your things are ​yoursmallpersonal possessions: Get ​your things together and we’ll ​leave.
  • thing noun [C] (ANY POSSIBILITY)

an ​event, ​thought, ​subject of ​discussion, or ​possibility: A ​strange thing ​happened on my way to ​work today. I have a few things to ​bring up at the next ​meeting. Don’t ​worry about a thing – it’s all under ​control. Things can refer to a ​situation in ​general: Things have been going really well for us this ​year.
  • thing noun [C] (PERSON/ANIMAL)

a ​person or ​animal: When did you ​eat last, you ​poor thing? Note: This is used to refer to a person or animal affectionately or sympathetically.
(Definition of thing from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
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