They
They They ([th][=a]), pron. pl.; poss. {Theirs}; obj. {Them}. [Icel. [thorn]eir they, properly nom. pl. masc. of s[=a], s[=u], [thorn]at, a demonstrative pronoun, akin to the English definite article, AS. s[=e], se['o], [eth][ae]t, nom. pl. [eth][=a]. See {That}.] The plural of he, she, or it. They is never used adjectively, but always as a pronoun proper, and sometimes refers to persons without an antecedent expressed. [1913 Webster]

Jolif and glad they went unto here [their] rest And casten hem [them] full early for to sail. --Chaucer. [1913 Webster]

They of Italy salute you. --Heb. xiii. 24. [1913 Webster]

Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness. --Matt. v. 6. [1913 Webster]

Note: They is used indefinitely, as our ancestors used man, and as the French use on; as, they say (French on dit), that is, it is said by persons not specified. [1913 Webster]


The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • they — (thā) pron. 1) Used to refer to the ones previously mentioned or implied. 2) Usage Problem Used to refer to the one previously mentioned or implied, especially as a substitute for generic he: »Every person has rights under the law, but they don t …   Word Histories

  • they — W1S1 [ðeı] pron [used as the subject of a verb] [Date: 1100 1200; : Old Norse; Origin: their] 1.) used to refer to two or more people or things that have already been mentioned or are already known about ▪ Bob and Sue said they wouldn t be able… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • They — (IPAEng|ðeɪ) is a third person, personal pronoun (subject case) in Modern English.UsageThe singular they is the use of this pronoun, where they is used as a gender neutral singular rather than plural pronoun. The correctness of this usage is… …   Wikipedia

  • they — [ ðeı ] pronoun *** They is used as the subject of a verb: They killed him. In formal English they can also be used after the verb to be, especially before a relative clause: It is they who are telling lies. 1. ) used for referring to a group of… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • they — ► PRONOUN (third person pl. ) 1) used to refer to two or more people or things previously mentioned or easily identified. 2) people in general. 3) informal people in authority regarded collectively. 4) used to refer to a person of unspecified sex …   English terms dictionary

  • they — [thā] pron. sing. he, she, it [ME thei < ON thei r, nom. masc. pl. of the demonstrative pron.; like THEIR & THEM (ME theim), also < the ON demonstrative forms, thei replaced earlier ME he (hi) because the native pronouns were phonetically… …   English World dictionary

  • they — they, them, their These three pronouns have all been used since the 16c to refer back to a singular pronoun, especially an indefinite pronoun such as anyone, everyone, nobody, someone, etc.: • If someone walks across it, they interrupt the beam P …   Modern English usage

  • they — c.1200, from O.N. þeir, originally masculine plural demonstrative pronoun, from P.Gmc. *thai, nom. pl. pronoun, from PIE *to (see THAT (Cf. that)). Gradually replaced O.E. hi, hie, plurals of he, heo, hit (see HE (Cf. he), SHE (Cf. she) …   Etymology dictionary

  • they — [[t]ðeɪ[/t]] ♦ (They is a third person plural pronoun. They is used as the subject of a verb.) 1) PRON PLURAL You use they to refer to a group of people, animals, or things. The two men were far more alike than they would ever admit... People… …   English dictionary

  • they — pronoun, plural in construction Etymology: Middle English, from Old Norse their, masculine plural demonstrative & personal pronoun; akin to Old English thæt that Date: 13th century 1. a. those ones used as third person pronoun serving as the… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

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