thing Definition in the Cambridge English Dictionary Cambridge dictionaries logo
Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

Definition of “thing” - English Dictionary

"thing" in American English

See all translations

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 seals plastic bags. There are some nice things in the stores on sale right now.
your things
Your things are your small personal 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)

"thing" in British English

See all translations


uk   /θɪŋ/ us   /θɪŋ/
  • 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 stupid thing work?
things [plural]

expend iconexpend iconMore examples

A1 UK 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).

expend iconexpend iconMore 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.: The article was exactly the thing I needed for my research.
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.

expend iconexpend iconMore 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]

expend iconexpend iconMore 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 (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] I can't believe you won - you lucky thing!
(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
Avoiding common errors with the word enough.
Avoiding common errors with the word enough.
by ,
May 25, 2016
by Liz Walter Enough is a very common word, but it is easy to make mistakes with it. You need to be careful about its position in a sentence, and the prepositions or verb patterns that come after it. I’ll start with the position of enough in the sentence. When we use it with a noun,

Read More 

Word of the Day


a substance that you put on your skin to prevent it from being damaged by the sun

Word of the Day

convo noun
convo noun
May 23, 2016
informal a conversation The convo around concussions mostly focuses on guys who play football, but Chastain thinks that this whole thing could be a headache for women too.

Read More