the
I. definite article Etymology: Middle English, from Old English thē, masculine demonstrative pronoun & definite article, alteration (influenced by oblique cases — as thæs, genitive — & neuter, thæt) of sē; akin to Greek ho, masculine demonstrative pronoun & definite article — more at that Date: before 12th century 1. a. — used as a function word to indicate that a following noun or noun equivalent is definite or has been previously specified by context or by circumstance <
put the cat out
>
b. — used as a function word to indicate that a following noun or noun equivalent is a unique or a particular member of its class <
the President
>
<
the Lord
>
c. — used as a function word before nouns that designate natural phenomena or points of the compass <
the night is cold
>
d. — used as a function word before a noun denoting time to indicate reference to what is present or immediate or is under consideration <
in the future
>
e. — used as a function word before names of some parts of the body or of the clothing as an equivalent of a possessive adjective <
how's the arm today
>
f. — used as a function word before the name of a branch of human endeavor or proficiency <
the law
>
g. — used as a function word in prepositional phrases to indicate that the noun in the phrase serves as a basis for computation <
sold by the dozen
>
h. — used as a function word before a proper name (as of a ship or a well-known building) <
the Mayflower
>
i. — used as a function word before a proper name to indicate the distinctive characteristics of a person or thing <
the John Doe that we know wouldn't lie
>
j. — used as a function word before the plural form of a surname to indicate all the members of a family <
the Johnsons
>
k. — used as a functon word before the plural form of a numeral that is a multiple of ten to denote a particular decade of a century or of a person's life <
life in the twenties
>
l. — used as a function word before the name of a commodity or any familiar appurtenance of daily life to indicate reference to the individual thing, part, or supply thought of as at hand <
talked on the telephone
>
m. — used as a function word to designate one of a class as the best, most typical, best known, or most worth singling out <
this is the life
>
<
the pill
>
— sometimes used before a personal name to denote the most prominent bearer of that name 2. a. (1) — used as a function word with a noun modified by an adjective or by an attributive noun to limit the application of the modified noun to that specified by the adjective or by the attributive noun <
the right answer
>
<
Peter the Great
>
(2) — used as a function word before an absolute adjective or an ordinal number <
nothing but the best
>
<
due on the first
>
b. (1) — used as a function word before a noun to limit its application to that specified by a succeeding element in the sentence <
the poet Wordsworth
>
<
the days of our youth
>
<
didn't have the time to write
>
(2) — used as a function word after a person's name to indicate a characteristic trait or notorious activity specified by the succeeding noun <
Jack the Ripper
>
3. a. — used as a function word before a singular noun to indicate that the noun is to be understood generically <
the dog is a domestic animal
>
b. — used as a function word before a singular substantivized adjective to indicate an abstract idea <
an essay on the sublime
>
4. — used as a function word before a noun or a substantivized adjective to indicate reference to a group as a whole <
the elite
>
II. adverb Etymology: Middle English, from Old English thȳ by that, instrumental of thæt that Date: before 12th century 1. than before ; than otherwise — used before a comparative <
none the wiser for attending
>
2. a. to what extent <
the sooner the better
>
b. to that extent <
the sooner the better
>
3. beyond all others <
likes this the best
>
III. preposition Etymology: 1the Date: 15th century per 2 <
a dollar the dozen
>

New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • The — ([th][=e], when emphatic or alone; [th][ e], obscure before a vowel; [th]e, obscure before a consonant; 37), definite article. [AS. [eth][=e], a later form for earlier nom. sing. masc. s[=e], formed under the influence of the oblique cases. See… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • The — The, adv. [AS. [eth][=e], [eth][=y], instrumental case of s[=e], se[ o], [eth][ae]t, the definite article. See 2d {The}.] By that; by how much; by so much; on that account; used before comparatives; as, the longer we continue in sin, the more… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • The — ([th][=e]), v. i. See {Thee}. [Obs.] Chaucer. Milton. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • THÉ — s. m. Arbrisseau qui croit à la Chine et au Japon, et dont les feuilles, auxquelles on donne ce même nom, servent à faire une infusion qui se prend chaude. Thé vert. Thé bou. Thé impérial. Boite à thé.   Il se dit également de L infusion de thé.… …   Dictionnaire de l'Academie Francaise, 7eme edition (1835)

  • THÉ — n. m. Arbrisseau qui croît en Extrême Orient et dont la feuille séchée donne, en infusion, une boisson aromatique. Il se dit surtout des Feuilles séchées de cet arbrisseau. Thé vert. Thé noir. Thé de Chine. Thé de Ceylan. Boîte à thé. Une pincée… …   Dictionnaire de l'Academie Francaise, 8eme edition (1935)

  • the- — or theo combining form Etymology: Middle English theo , from Latin, from Greek the , theo , from theos god ; God < theism > < theocentric > …   New Collegiate Dictionary

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  • The Canterbury Tales — is a collection of stories written by Geoffrey Chaucer in the 14th century (two of them in prose, the rest in verse). The tales, some of which are originals and others not, are contained inside a frame tale and told by a collection of pilgrims on …   Wikipedia

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