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English definition of “thing”

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] 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).

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.

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] 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)
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