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    thinner (n.) — thrush (n.1)

    thinner (n.)

    liquid used to dilute paint, ink, etc., 1904, agent noun from thin (v.).ETD thinner (n.).2

    third (adj., n.)

    "next in order after the second; an ordinal numeral; being one of three equal parts into which a whole is regarded as divided;" late Old English metathesis of þridda, from Proto-Germanic *thridja- (source also of Old Frisian thredda, Old Saxon thriddio, Middle Low German drudde, Dutch derde, Old High German dritto, German dritte, Old Norse þriðe, Danish tredie, Swedish tredje, Gothic þridja), from PIE *tri-tyo- (source also of Sanskrit trtiyas, Avestan thritya, Greek tritos, Latin tertius (source of Italian terzo, Spanish tercio, French tiers), Old Church Slavonic tretiji, Lithuanian trečias, Old Irish triss, Welsh tryde), suffixed form of root *trei- (see three).ETD third (adj., n.).2

    Metathesis of thrid into third is attested from c. 950 in Northumbrian (compare wright), but overall thrid was prevalent up to 16c. The noun meaning "third part of anything" is recorded from late 14c. Third rail in electric railway sense is recorded from 1890. Third World War as a possibility first recorded 1947. Third-rate "of poor quality" is from 1814, ultimately from classification of ships (1640s); third class in railway travel is from 1839. Third Reich (1930) is a partial translation of German drittes Reich (1923). Third party in law, insurance, etc., is from 1818.ETD third (adj., n.).3

    third degree (n.)

    "intense interrogation by police," 1900, probably a reference to Third Degree of master mason in Freemasonry (1772), the conferring of which included an interrogation ceremony. Third degree as a measure of severity of burns (most severe) is attested from 1866, from French (1832); in American English, as a definition of the seriousness of a particular type of crime (the least serious type) it is recorded from 1865.ETD third degree (n.).2

    Third World (n.)

    1963, from French tiers monde, formulated 1952 by French economic historian Alfred Sauvy (1898-1990) on model of the third estate (French tiers état) of Revolutionary France; his first world (The West) and second world (the Soviet bloc) never caught on.ETD Third World (n.).2

    thirst (v.)

    Old English þyrstan "to thirst, thirst after," from the noun (see thirst (n.)); the figurative sense of the verb was present in Old English. Compare Old Saxon thurstian, Dutch dorsten, Old High German dursten, German dürsten, all verbs from nouns. Related: Thirsted; thirsting.ETD thirst (v.).2

    thirst (n.)

    Old English þurst, from Proto-Germanic *thurstu- (source also of Old Saxon thurst, Frisian torst, Dutch dorst, Old High German and German durst), from Proto-Germanic verbal stem *thurs- (source also of Gothic thaursjan, Old English thyrre), from PIE root *ters- "to dry." Figurative sense of "vehement desire" is attested from c. 1200.ETD thirst (n.).2

    thirsty (adj.)

    Old English þurstig "thirsty, greedy;" see thirst (n.) + -y (2). Related: Thirstily; thirstiness. Similar formation in Old Frisian, Dutch dorstig, German durstig.ETD thirsty (adj.).2

    thirteen (adj., n.)

    "1 more than twelve; the number which is one more than twelve; a symbol representing this number;" late 14c., metathesis of Middle English thrittene, from Old English þreotene (Mercian), þreotiene (West Saxon), from þreo "three" (see three) + -tene (see -teen). Similar formation in Old Saxon thriutein, Old Frisian thretten, Dutch dertien, German dreizehn, Old Norse threttan, Swedish tretton. As a noun from late Old English.ETD thirteen (adj., n.).2

    Not an unlucky number in medieval England, but associated rather with the customary "extra item" (as in baker's dozen). Superstitions began with association with the Last Supper, and the unluckiness of 13 sitting down together to dine (attested from 1690s). Most of the modern superstitions (buildings with floor "12-A," etc.) have developed since 1890.ETD thirteen (adj., n.).3

    thirteenth (adj., n.)

    "next in order after the twelfth; an ordinal numeral; being one of twelve equal parts into which a whole is regarded as divided;" a 15c. metathesis of þriteenþe (mid-14c.; see thirteen + -th (1)), which replaced forms from Old English þreoteoða (West Saxon), þriteogeða (Anglian). Similar formation in Old Norse þrettande, Danish trettende, Swedish trettonde, Old Frisian threttinde, Dutch dertiende, Old High German dritto-zehanto, German dreizehnte.ETD thirteenth (adj., n.).2

    thirty (adj., n.)

    "1 more than twenty-nine, twice fifteen; the number which is one more than twenty-nine; a symbol representing this number;" late 14c. metathesis of thritti, from Old English þritig, from þri, þreo "three" (see three) + -tig "group of ten" (see -ty (1)). Similar formation in Old Frisian thritich, Old Saxon thritig, Dutch dertig, Old High German drizzug, German dreissig.ETD thirty (adj., n.).2

    The Thirty Years' War (1842) was a general European religious and dynastic power struggle, furiously destructive, waged 1618-48, mainly on German soil. The symbol -30- as printer and telegrapher's code to indicate the last sheet or line of copy or a dispatch is recorded from 1895. In 20c. jargon of newspaper journalism, it came to be a traditional sign-off signal and slang word for "the end."ETD thirty (adj., n.).3

    thirties (n.)

    1827 as the years of someone's life between 30 and 39; 1830 as the fourth decade of years in a given century. See thirty.ETD thirties (n.).2

    thirtieth (adj., n.)

    "next in order after the twenty-ninth; an ordinal numeral; being one of thirty equal parts into which a whole is regarded as divided;" Middle English threttyth, from Old English þritigoða; see thirty + -th (1). Respelled 16c. to conform to new spelling of thirty.ETD thirtieth (adj., n.).2

    thistle (n.)

    prickly herbaceous plant, Old English þistel, from Proto-Germanic *thistilaz (source also of Old Saxon thistil, Old High German distil, German Distel, Old Norse þistell, Danish tidsel), of uncertain origin; perhaps from an extended form of PIE root *steig- "to prick, stick, pierce." Emblematic of Scotland since 15c.ETD thistle (n.).2

    thither (adv.)

    Old English þider "to or toward that place," altered (by influence of its opposite hider) from earlier þæder "to that place," from Proto-Germanic *thadra- (source also of Old Norse þaðra "there," Gothic þaþro "thence"), from PIE pronominal root *to- (see that) + PIE suffix denoting motion toward (compare Gothic -dre, Sanskrit -tra). The medial -th- developed early 14c. but was rare before early 16c. (compare gather, murder, burden).ETD thither (adv.).2

    thixotropy (adj.)

    1927, coined in German from Greek thixis "touching" (related to thinganein "to touch," from PIE root *dheigh- "to form, build") + trope "a turn, turning" (from PIE root *trep- "to turn"). Related: Thixotropic.ETD thixotropy (adj.).2

    tho (conj.)

    in modern use, an abbreviated spelling of though.ETD tho (conj.).2

    thole (n.)

    "peg," from Old English þoll "oar-pin," from Proto-Germanic *thulnaz (source also of Old Norse þollr, Middle Low German dolle, East Frisian dolle, Dutch dol), of unknown origin; according to Watkins probably from Proto-Germanic *thul-, from PIE root *teue- "to swell," on the notion of "a swelling." No record of the word in English from c. 1000 to mid-15c.ETD thole (n.).2

    thole (v.)

    "to be subjected to or exposed to, to endure without complaint," now Scottish and Northern English dialect, from Old English þolian "to suffer, endure, undergo; remain, survive; to lose, lack, forfeit," from Proto-Germanic stem *thul- (source also of Old Saxon tholon, Old High German dolon, Old Norse þola, Gothic þulan "to suffer," German geduld "patience"), from PIE *tele- "to bear, carry" (see extol).ETD thole (v.).2


    masc. proper name, from Greek Thomas, of Aramaic origin and said to mean "a twin" (John's gospel refers to Thomas as ho legomenos didymos "called the twin;" compare Syriac toma "twin," Arabic tau'am "twin"). Before the Conquest, found only as the name of a priest, but after 1066, one of the most common given names in English. Also see Tom, Tommy. Doubting Thomas is from John xx.25. A Thomist (1530s, from Medieval Latin Thomista, mid-14c.) is a follower of 13c. scholastic theologian St. Thomas Aquinas.ETD Thomas.2

    Thompson (n.)

    type of sub-machine gun, 1919, named for U.S. Gen. John T. Thompson (1860-1940), who conceived it and whose company financed it. Familiarly Tommy gun by 1929.ETD Thompson (n.).2

    thong (n.)

    Old English þwong, þwang "narrow strip of leather" (used as a cord, band, strip, etc.), from Proto-Germanic *thwang- (source also of Old Norse þvengr), from PIE root *twengh- "to press in on, to restrain" (source also of Old English twengan "to pinch, squeeze"). As a kind of sandal, first attested 1965; as a kind of bikini briefs, 1990.ETD thong (n.).2


    Odin's eldest son, strongest of the gods though not the wisest, c.1020, from Old Norse Þorr, literally "thunder," from *þunroz, related to Old English þunor (see thunder (n.)). His weapon was the hammer mjölnir ("crusher").ETD Thor.2

    thoracic (adj.)

    1650s, from stem of thorax + -ic, or else from Medieval Latin thoracicus.ETD thoracic (adj.).2

    thoracotomy (n.)

    1890, from combining form of thorax + -ectomy "a cutting, surgical removal."ETD thoracotomy (n.).2

    thoral (adj.)

    1690s, from Latin torus "couch, marriage bed, stuffed cushion" + -al (1).ETD thoral (adj.).2

    thorax (n.)

    "chest of the body," late 14c., from Latin thorax "the breast, chest; breastplate," from Greek thōrax (genitive thōrakos) "breastplate, chest," of unknown origin.ETD thorax (n.).2

    Thorazine (n.)

    central nervous system depressant, 1954, proprietary name (Smith, Kline & French) formed from a rearrangement of various elements in the full chemical name.ETD Thorazine (n.).2

    thorium (n.)

    rare metallic element, 1832, Modern Latin, named by its discoverer, Swedish chemist Jöns Jakob Berzelius (1779-1848) from thorite (silicate of thorium), the name of a mineral found in Norway from which it was extracted (which Berzelius had also named, as thoria, in 1828), and named in honor of the Scandinavian god Thor. With metallic element ending -ium.ETD thorium (n.).2

    thorn (n.)

    Old English þorn "sharp point on a stem or branch," earlier "thorny tree or plant," from Proto-Germanic *thurnīn- (source also of Old Saxon, Old Frisian thorn, Dutch doorn, Old High German dorn, German Dorn, Old Norse þorn, Gothic þaurnus), from PIE *trnus (source also of Old Church Slavonic trunu "thorn," Sanskrit trnam "blade of grass," Greek ternax "stalk of the cactus," Irish trainin "blade of grass"), from *(s)ter-n- "thorny plant," perhaps from root *ster- (1) "stiff."ETD thorn (n.).2

    Figurative sense of "anything which causes pain" is recorded from early 13c. (thorn in the flesh is from II Corinthians xii.7). Also an Anglo-Saxon and Icelandic runic letter (þ), named for the word of which it was the initial (see th).ETD thorn (n.).3

    thorny (adj.)

    Old English þornig; see thorn + -y (2). Figurative sense is attested from mid-14c. Related: Thorniness. Similar formation in Dutch doornig, German dornig. The figurative image is widespread; Greek had akanthologos as a nickname for a quibbler, literally "thorn-gathering," and akanthobates, nickname for a grammarian (fem. akanthobatis).ETD thorny (adj.).2


    abbreviated spelling of thorough.ETD thoro.2

    thorough (adj.)

    c. 1300, adjectival use of Old English þuruh (adv.) "from end to end, from side to side," stressed variant of þurh (adv., prep.); see through. Related: thoroughly; thoroughness.ETD thorough (adj.).2

    thoroughbred (adj.)

    1701, of persons, "thoroughly accomplished," from thorough + past tense of breed. In reference to horses, "of pure breed or stock," from 1796; the noun is first recorded 1842.ETD thoroughbred (adj.).2

    thoroughfare (n.)

    late 14c., "passage or way through," from thorough (before it had differentiated from through) + fare (n.).ETD thoroughfare (n.).2

    thoroughgoing (adj.)

    1800, from thorough + going.ETD thoroughgoing (adj.).2

    thorp (n.)

    Old English ðorp "village, hamlet, farm, estate," reinforced by Old Norse ðorp, both from Proto-Germanic *thurpa- (source also of Old Frisian thorp, Frisian terp, Middle Dutch, Dutch dorp, German dorf "village," Gothic þaurp "estate, land, field"), probably from PIE root *treb- "dwelling" (see tavern). Preserved in place names ending in -thorp, -thrup.ETD thorp (n.).2

    those (pron.)

    c. 1300, Midlands and southern variant of Old English þas, nominative and accusative plural of þes, þeos "this" (see this). A collateral form of these, now used as the plural of that.ETD those (pron.).2


    ancient Egyptian god of wisdom and magic, hieroglyphics, and the reckoning of time, from Latin, from Greek Thoth, from Egyptian Tehuti. Usually represented as a human figure with the head of an ibis. By the Greeks, assimilated to their Hermes.ETD Thoth.2

    thou (pron.)

    2nd nominative singular personal pronoun, Old English þu, from Proto-Germanic *thu (source also of Old Frisian thu, Middle Dutch and Middle Low German du, Old High German and German du, Old Norse þu, Gothic þu), from PIE *tu-, second person singular pronoun (source also of Latin tu, Irish tu, Welsh ti, Greek su, Lithuanian tu, Old Church Slavonic ty, Sanskrit twa-m).ETD thou (pron.).2

    Superseded in Middle English by plural form you (from a different root), but retained in certain dialects (e.g. early Quakers). The plural at first was used in addressing superior individuals, later also (to err on the side of propriety) strangers, and ultimately all equals. By c. 1450 the use of thou to address inferiors gave it a tinge of insult unless addressed by parents to children, or intimates to one another. Hence the verb meaning "to use 'thou' to a person" (mid-15c.).ETD thou (pron.).3

    A brief history of the second person pronoun in English can be found here.ETD thou (pron.).4

    though (adv., conj.)

    c. 1200, from Old English þeah "though, although, even if, however, nevertheless, still, yet;" and in part from Old Norse þo "though," both from Proto-Germanic *thaukh (source also of Gothic þauh, Old Frisian thach, Middle Dutch, Dutch doch, Old High German doh, German doch), from PIE demonstrative pronoun *to- (see that). The evolution of the terminal sound did not follow laugh, tough, etc., though a tendency to end the word in "f" existed c. 1300-1750 and persists in dialects.ETD though (adv., conj.).2

    thought (n.)

    Old English þoht, geþoht "process of thinking, a thought; compassion," from stem of þencan "to conceive of in the mind, consider" (see think). Cognate with the second element in German Gedächtnis "memory," Andacht "attention, devotion," Bedacht "consideration, deliberation."ETD thought (n.).2

    Bammesberger ("English Etymology") explains that in Germanic -kt- generally shifted to -ht-, and a nasal before -ht- was lost. Proto-Germanic *thankija- added a suffix -t in the past tense. By the first pattern the Germanic form was *thanht-, by the second the Old English was þoht.ETD thought (n.).3

    Second thought "later consideration" is recorded from 1640s. Thought-crime is from "Nineteen Eighty-Four" (1949); thought police is attested from 1945, originally in reference to war-time Japanese Special Higher Police (Tokubetsu Koto Keisatsu).ETD thought (n.).4

    thoughtful (adj.)

    c. 1200, "contemplative, occupied with thought," from thought + -ful. Also in Middle English, "prudent; moody, anxious." Meaning "showing consideration for others" is from 1851 (compare thoughtless.) Related: Thoughtfully; thoughtfulness.ETD thoughtful (adj.).2

    thoughtless (adj.)

    1610s, "heedless, imprudent," from thought + -less. Meaning "inconsiderate of others" is from 1794. Related: Thoughtlessly; thoughtlessness.ETD thoughtless (adj.).2

    thousand (adj., n.)

    "10 times one hundred; the number which is ten times one hundred; a symbol representing this number;" Old English þusend, from Proto-Germanic *thusundi (source also of Old Frisian thusend, Dutch duizend, Old High German dusunt, German tausend, Old Norse þusund, Gothic þusundi).ETD thousand (adj., n.).2

    Related to words in Balto-Slavic (Lithuanian tūkstantis, Old Church Slavonic tysashta, Polish tysiąc, Russian tysiacha, Czech tisic), and probably ultimately a compound with indefinite meaning "great multitude, several hundred," literally "swollen-hundred," with first element from PIE root *teue- "to swell," second element from PIE root *dekm- "ten."ETD thousand (adj., n.).3

    Used to translate Greek khilias, Latin mille, hence the refinement into the precise modern meaning. There was no general Indo-European word for "thousand." Slang shortening thou first recorded 1867. Thousand island dressing (1916) presumably is named for the region of New York on the St. Lawrence River. Thousand yard stare "blank, unfocused gaze" is by 1943, originally military slang, said to be a condition developed by soldiers stationed for long periods on small islands.ETD thousand (adj., n.).4

    thousandth (adj.)

    1550s, from thousand + -th (1).ETD thousandth (adj.).2


    Greek Thrake, named for the people who inhabited it, whose name is of unknown origin, perhaps Semitic. Related: Thracian.ETD Thrace.2

    thraldom (n.)

    also thralldom, c. 1200; see thrall + -dom.ETD thraldom (n.).2

    thrall (n.)

    late Old English þræl "bondman, serf, slave," from a Scandinavian source akin to Old Norse þræll "slave, servant," figuratively "wretch, scoundrel," probably from Proto-Germanic *thrakhilaz, literally "runner," from root *threh- "to run" (source also of Old High German dregil "servant," properly "runner;" Old English þrægan, Gothic þragjan "to run"). Meaning "condition of servitude" is from early 14c.ETD thrall (n.).2

    thrash (v.)

    1580s, "to separate grains from wheat, etc., by beating," dialectal variant of threshen (see thresh). Sense of "beat (someone) with (or as if with) a flail" is first recorded 1620s. Meaning "to make wild movements like those of a flail or whip" is attested from 1846. Related: Thrashed; thrashing. As a noun from 1660s, "threshing tool;" 1840s as "a beating;" 1982 as the name for a type of fast heavy metal music.ETD thrash (v.).2

    thread (n.)

    Old English þræd "fine cord, especially when twisted" (related to þrawan "to twist"), from Proto-Germanic *thredu- "twisted yarn" (source also of Old Saxon thrad, Old Frisian thred, Middle Dutch draet, Dutch draad, Old High German drat, German Draht, Old Norse þraðr), literally "twisted," from suffixed form of PIE root *tere- (1) "to rub, turn." Meaning "spiral ridge of a screw" is from 1670s. Threads, slang for "clothes" is 1926, American English.ETD thread (n.).2

    thread (v.)

    "to put thread through a needle," mid-14c., from thread (n.); in reference to film cameras from 1913. The dancing move called thread the needle is attested from 1844. Related: Threaded; threading.ETD thread (v.).2

    threadbare (adj.)

    late 14c., from thread (n.) + bare. The notion is of "having the nap worn off," leaving bare the threads.ETD threadbare (adj.).2

    threat (n.)

    Old English þreat "crowd, troop," also "oppression, coercion, menace," related to þreotan "to trouble, weary," from Proto-Germanic *thrautam (source also of Dutch verdrieten, German verdrießen "to vex"), from PIE *treud- "to push, press squeeze" (source also of Latin trudere "to press, thrust," Old Church Slavonic trudu "oppression," Middle Irish trott "quarrel, conflict," Middle Welsh cythrud "torture, torment, afflict"). Sense of "conditional declaration of hostile intention" was in Old English.ETD threat (n.).2

    threaten (v.)

    late 13c., "attempt to influence by menacing," from Old English þreatnian "to threaten" (see threat). Related: Threatened. Threatening in the sense of "portending no good" is recorded from 1520s.ETD threaten (v.).2

    three (num.)

    "1 more than two; the number which is one more than two; a symbol representing this number;" Old English þreo, fem. and neuter (masc. þri, þrie), from Proto-Germanic *thrijiz (source also of Old Saxon thria, Old Frisian thre, Middle Dutch and Dutch drie, Old High German dri, German drei, Old Norse þrir, Danish tre), from nominative plural of PIE root *trei- "three" (source also of Sanskrit trayas, Avestan thri, Greek treis, Latin tres, Lithuanian trys, Old Church Slavonic trye, Irish and Welsh tri "three").ETD three (num.).2

    3-D first attested 1952, abbreviation of three-dimensional (1878). Three-piece suit is recorded from 1909. Three cheers for ______ is recorded from 1751. Three-martini lunch is attested from 1972. Three-ring circus is recorded by 1898. Three-sixty "complete turnaround" is from 1927, originally among aviators, in reference to the number of degrees in a full circle. Three musketeers translates French les trois mousquetaires, title of the 1844 novel by Alexandre Dumas père.ETD three (num.).3

    threefold (adj.)

    late Old English þrifeald; see three + -fold.ETD threefold (adj.).2

    Three Rs (n.)

    1824; said to have been given as a toast by Sir William Curtis (1752-1829), a beloved lord mayor of London in the 1820s, who seems to have been a figure of fun to whom many mangled phrases were attributed. Among the toasts he is alleged to have given at public dinners were "The Female Ladies of London;" "The three C's—Cox, King, and Curtis;" and "The three R's—Reading, Writing, and Rithmetic."ETD Three Rs (n.).2

    After listing some examples, the article continues:ETD Three Rs (n.).3

    threesome (n.)

    late 14c., from three + -some (2).ETD threesome (n.).2

    threnody (n.)

    "song of lamentation," 1630s, from Greek thrēnōdia "lamentation," from thrēnos "dirge, lament" + ōidē "ode" (see ode). Greek thrēnos probably is from PIE imitative root *dher- (3) "to drone, murmur, hum;" source also of Old English dran "drone," Gothic drunjus "sound," Greek tenthrene "a kind of wasp."ETD threnody (n.).2

    thresh (v.)

    Old English þrescan, þerscan, "to beat, sift grain by trampling or beating," from Proto-Germanic *threskan "to thresh," originally "to tread, to stamp noisily" (source also of Middle Dutch derschen, Dutch dorschen, Old High German dreskan, German dreschen, Old Norse þreskja, Swedish tröska, Gothic þriskan), from PIE root *tere- (1) "to rub, turn."ETD thresh (v.).2

    The basic notion is of men or oxen treading out wheat; later, with the advent of the flail, the word acquired its modern extended sense of "to knock, beat, strike." The original Germanic sense is suggested by the use of the word in Romanic languages that borrowed it, such as Italian trescare "to prance," Old French treschier "to dance," Spanish triscar "to stamp the feet." For metathesis of -r- and vowel, see wright.ETD thresh (v.).3

    thresher (n.)

    late 14c., agent noun from thresh. The thresher shark (c. 1600) so called for its long upper "tail," which resembles a threshing tool. Another name for it was swingle-tail (1839). The Greek for it was alōpēx, literally "fox," also for the tail.ETD thresher (n.).2

    threshold (n.)

    Old English þrescold, þærscwold, þerxold, etc., "door-sill, point of entering," a word of uncertain origin and probably much altered by folk-etymology.ETD threshold (n.).2

    The first element probably is related to Old English þrescan (see thresh), either in its current sense of "thresh" or with its original sense of "to tread, trample." The second element has been much transformed in all the Germanic languages, suggesting its literal sense was lost even in ancient times. In English it probably has been altered to conform to hold.ETD threshold (n.).3

    Liberman (Oxford University Press blog, Feb. 11, 2015) revives an old theory that the second element is the Proto-Germanic instrumental suffix *-thlo and the original sense of threshold was a threshing area adjacent to the living area of a house. Cognates of the compound include Old Norse þreskjoldr, Swedish tröskel, Old High German driscufli, German dialectal drischaufel. The figurative use was present in Old English.ETD threshold (n.).4


    past tense of throw (q.v.).ETD threw.2

    thrice (adv.)

    c. 1200, from Old English þriga, þriwa "thrice" (from þrie "three;" see three) + adverbial genitive -es, changed c. 1600 to -ce to reflect voiceless pronunciation.ETD thrice (adv.).2

    thrift (n.)

    c. 1300, "fact or condition of thriving," also "prosperity, savings," from Middle English thriven "to thrive" (see thrive), influenced by (or from) Old Norse þrift, variant of þrif "prosperity," from þrifask "to thrive." Sense of "habit of saving, economy" first recorded 1550s (thrifty in this sense is recorded from 1520s; also see spendthrift). Thrift shop attested by 1919.ETD thrift (n.).2

    thrifty (adj.)

    late 14c., "respectable," from thrift + -y (2). Meaning "frugal" is from 1520s. Related: Thriftily; thriftiness.ETD thrifty (adj.).2

    thrill (v.)

    early 14c., "to pierce, penetrate," metathesis of Old English þyrlian "to perforate, pierce," from þyrel "hole" (in Middle English, also "nostril"), from þurh "through" (compare Middle High German dürchel "pierced, perforated;" from PIE root *tere- (2) "cross over, pass through, overcome") + -el. Meaning "give a shivering, exciting feeling" is first recorded 1590s, via metaphoric notion of "pierce with emotion." Related: Thrilled; thrilling.ETD thrill (v.).2

    thrill (n.)

    "a shivering, exciting feeling," 1670s, from thrill (v.). Meaning "a thrilling experience" is attested from 1936.ETD thrill (n.).2

    thriller (n.)

    1889, "sensational story," agent noun from thrill (v.).ETD thriller (n.).2

    thrive (v.)

    c. 1200, from a Scandinavian source akin to Old Norse þrifask "to thrive," originally "grasp to oneself," probably reflexive of þrifa "to clutch, grasp, grip, take hold of" (compare Norwegian triva "to seize," Swedish trifvas, Danish trives "to thrive, flourish"), of unknown origin. Related: Thrived (or throve); thriving.ETD thrive (v.).2

    thro (prep.)

    shorter spelling of through.ETD thro (prep.).2

    throat (n.)

    Old English þrote (implied in þrotbolla "the Adam's apple, larynx," literally "throat boll"), related to þrutian "to swell," from Proto-Germanic *thrut- (source also of Old High German drozza, German Drossel, Old Saxon strota, Middle Dutch strote, Dutch strot "throat"), of uncertain origin. Italian strozza "throat," strozzare "to strangle" are Germanic loan-words. College slang for "competitive student" is 1970s, from cutthroat.ETD throat (n.).2

    throaty (adj.)

    1640s, from throat + -y (2). Related: Throatily; throatiness.ETD throaty (adj.).2

    throb (v.)

    late 14c., of uncertain origin, perhaps meant to represent in sound the pulsation of arteries and veins or the heart. Related: Throbbed; throbbing. The noun is first attested 1570s.ETD throb (v.).2

    throe (n.)

    c. 1200, throwe "pain, pang of childbirth, agony of death," of uncertain origin, possibly from Old English þrawan "twist, turn, writhe" (see throw (v.)), or altered from Old English þrea (genitive þrawe) "affliction, pang, evil; threat, persecution" (related to þrowian "to suffer"), from Proto-Germanic *thrawo (source also of Middle High German dro "threat," German drohen "to threaten"). Modern spelling first recorded 1610s. Related: Throes.ETD throe (n.).2


    before vowels thromb-, word-forming element meaning "blood clot," from combining form of Greek thrombos "clot of blood" (see thrombus).ETD thrombo-.2

    thrombophlebitis (n.)

    1872, from thrombo- + phlebitis.ETD thrombophlebitis (n.).2

    thrombosis (n.)

    1706, Modern Latin, from Greek thrombosis "a clumping or curdling" (from thrombousthai "become curdled or clotted," from thrombos "clot, curd, lump;" see thrombus) + -osis.ETD thrombosis (n.).2

    thrombus (n.)

    1690s, Modern Latin, from Greek thrombos "lump, piece, clot of blood, curd of milk," a word of uncertain etymology.ETD thrombus (n.).2

    throne (n.)

    c. 1200, trone, "the seat of God or a saint in heaven;" c. 1300 as "seat occupied by a sovereign," from Old French trone (12c., Modern French trône), from Latin thronus, from Greek thronos "elevated seat, chair, throne," from suffixed form of PIE root *dher- "to hold firmly, support" (source also of Latin firmus "firm, steadfast, strong, stable," Sanskrit dharma "statute, law"). From late 14c. as a symbol of royal power. Colloquial meaning "toilet" is recorded from 1922. The classical -h- begins to appear in English from late 14c.ETD throne (n.).2

    throng (v.)

    "go in a crowd," 1530s, from throng (n.). Earlier it meant "to press, crush" (c. 1400). Related: Thronged; thronging.ETD throng (v.).2

    throng (n.)

    c. 1300, probably shortened from Old English geþrang "crowd, tumult" (related to verb þringan "to push, crowd, press"), from Proto-Germanic *thrangan (source also of Old Norse þröng, Dutch drang, German Drang "crowd, throng").ETD throng (n.).2

    throstle (n.)

    "thrush," Old English þrostle "thrush," from Proto-Germanic *thrust- (source also of Old Saxon throsla, Old High German droscala, German Drossel "thrush"), altered from (perhaps a diminutive of) *thurstaz (see thrush (n.1)).ETD throstle (n.).2

    throttle (n.)

    1540s, "throat;" it appears to be an independent formation from throat, perhaps a diminutive form, not derived directly from the verb. The mechanical sense is first recorded 1872, short for throttle-valve (1824). Full-throttle (allowing maximum speed) is from 1848 in reference to steam engines.ETD throttle (n.).2

    throttle (v.)

    "strangle to death," c. 1400, probably from Middle English throte "throat" (see throat) + -le, perhaps a frequentative suffix (as in spark/sparkle), or a utensil suffix (as in handle), or simply to distinguish it from throat (v.), which in late 14c. was used to mean "cut the throat of, kill by cutting the throat." Related: Throttled; throttling.ETD throttle (v.).2

    through (prep., adv.)

    late 14c., metathesis of Old English þurh, from Proto-Germanic *thurx (source also of Old Saxon thuru, Old Frisian thruch, Middle Dutch dore, Dutch door, Old High German thuruh, German durch, Gothic þairh "through"), from PIE root *tere- (2) "to cross over, pass through, overcome." Not clearly differentiated from thorough until early Modern English. Spelling thro was common 15c.-18c. Reformed spelling thru (1839) is mainly American English.ETD through (prep., adv.).2

    throughly (adv.)

    "fully, completely," mid-15c., from through + -ly (2). Archaic alternative to thoroughly.ETD throughly (adv.).2

    throughout (prep.)

    late Old English þurhut; see through + out (adv.). Similar formation in German durchaus.ETD throughout (prep.).2

    throughput (n.)

    "energy, activity," 1808, Scottish slang; from through + put. Industrial sense is from 1915.ETD throughput (n.).2

    throughway (n.)

    "expressway, large toll road," 1934, American English, from through + way (n.).ETD throughway (n.).2


    sometime past tense of thrive (v.).ETD throve.2

    throw (v.)

    "to project, propel," c. 1300, from Old English þrawan "to twist, turn, writhe, curl," (past tense þreow, past participle þrawen), from Proto-Germanic *threw- (source also of Old Saxon thraian, Middle Dutch dræyen, Dutch draaien, Old High German draen, German drehen "to turn, twist;" not found in Scandinavian or Gothic), from PIE root *tere- (1) "to rub, turn," with derivatives referring to twisting.ETD throw (v.).2

    Not the usual Old English word for "to throw" (weorpan, related to warp (v.) was common in this sense). The sense evolution may be via the notion of whirling a missile before throwing it. The sense of "put by force" (as in throw in jail) is first recorded 1550s; that of "confuse, flabbergast" is from 1844; that of "lose deliberately" is from 1868. To throw a party was in U.S. college slang by 1916.ETD throw (v.).3

    To throw the book at (someone) is 1932, from notion of judge sentencing a criminal from a law book full of possible punishments. To throw (one's) hat in the ring "issue a challenge," especially to announce one's candidacy, first recorded 1917. To throw up "vomit" is first recorded 1732. To throw (someone) off "confuse by a false scent" is from 1891.ETD throw (v.).4

    throw (n.)

    "act of throwing," 1520s, from throw (v.). Wrestling sense is attested by 1819.ETD throw (n.).2

    throwaway (adj.)

    also throw-away, 1901 in reference to very low prices; by 1903 in reference to printed material meant to be read once then tossed, and to wasted votes; with reference to disposable consumer goods, attested from 1969. From the verbal phrase, attested from late 14c. in the sense "reject, cast from oneself," from throw (v.) + away (adv.). More literal meaning of "dispose of as useless, release from one's possession as unneeded" is first recorded 1520s. Throw-away society attested from 1967.ETD throwaway (adj.).2

    throwback (n.)

    also throw-back, "reversion to an ancestral type or character," 1888, from throw (v.) + back (adv.); earlier it meant "a reverse in a course or progress, a relapse" (1856).ETD throwback (n.).2


    past participle of throw (v.).ETD thrown.2

    thru (prep.)

    by 1839, altered spelling of through; at first often in representations of dialect (Scottish, Yankee), by 1880s in standard use as a simplified spelling.ETD thru (prep.).2

    thrum (v.)

    "play a stringed instrument," 1590s, from the noun (1550s), of imitative origin. Related: Thrummed; thrumming.ETD thrum (v.).2


    contraction of throughout.ETD thruout.2

    thrush (n.2)

    throat disease, 1660s, probably from a Scandinavian source (such as Norwegian, Danish trøske, Swedish torsk), but its roots and original meaning are unclear.ETD thrush (n.2).2

    thrush (n.1)

    type of songbird, Old English þræsce, variant of þrysce, from Proto-Germanic *thruskjon (source also of Old Norse þröstr, Norwegian trost, Old High German drosca), from PIE *trozdo- (source also of Latin turdus, Lithuanian strazdas "thrush," Middle Irish truid, Welsh drudwy "starling," Old Church Slavonic drozgu, Russian drozdu).ETD thrush (n.1).2

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