thing

thing (n.) O.E. þing "meeting, assembly," later "entity, being, matter" (subject of deliberation in an assembly), also "act, deed, event, material object, body, being," from P.Gmc. *thengan "appointed time" (Cf. O.Fris. thing "assembly, council, suit, matter, thing," M.Du. dinc "court-day, suit, plea, concern, affair, thing," Du. ding "thing," O.H.G. ding "public assembly for judgment and business, lawsuit," Ger. ding "affair, matter, thing," O.N. þing "public assembly"). Some suggest an ultimate connection to PIE root *ten- "stretch," perhaps on notion of "stretch of time for a meeting or assembly."
For sense evolution, Cf. Fr. chose, Sp. cosa "thing," from L. causa "judicial process, lawsuit, case;" L. res "affair, thing," also "case at law, cause." Old sense is preserved in second element of HUSTINGS (Cf. hustings) and in Icelandic Althing, the nation's general assembly.
Used colloquially since c.1600 to indicate things the speaker can't name at the moment, often with various meaningless suffixes, e.g. thingumbob (1751), thingamajig (1824). Southern U.S. pronunciation thang attested from 1937. The thing "what's stylish or fashionable" is recorded from 1762. Phrase do your thing "follow your particular predilection," though associated with hippie-speak of 1960s is attested from 1841.

Etymology dictionary. 2014.

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  • thing — W1S1 [θıŋ] n ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬ 1¦(idea/action/feeling/fact)¦ 2¦(object)¦ 3¦(situation)¦ 4¦(nothing)¦ 5¦(person/animal)¦ 6¦(make a comment)¦ 7 the thing is 8 the last thing somebody wants/expects/needs etc 9 last thing …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • thing — [ θıŋ ] noun count *** ▸ 1 object/item ▸ 2 action/activity ▸ 3 situation/event ▸ 4 fact/condition ▸ 5 aspect of life ▸ 6 idea/information ▸ 7 something not specific ▸ 8 someone/something young you like ▸ + PHRASES 1. ) an object or ITEM. This… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • Thing — (th[i^]ng), n. [AS. [thorn]ing a thing, cause, assembly, judicial assembly; akin to [thorn]ingan to negotiate, [thorn]ingian to reconcile, conciliate, D. ding a thing, OS. thing thing, assembly, judicial assembly, G. ding a thing, formerly also,… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Thing — may refer to:In philosophy: * An object (philosophy), being, or entity * Thing in itself (or noumenon ), the reality that underlies perceptions, a term coined by Immanuel KantIn history: * Thing (assembly), also transliterated as ting or þing , a …   Wikipedia

  • thing — thing1 [thiŋ] n. [ME < OE, council, court, controversy, akin to Ger ding, ON thing (orig. sense, “public assembly,” hence, “subject of discussion, matter, thing”) < IE * tenk , to stretch, period of time < base * ten , to stretch >… …   English World dictionary

  • thing — 1 matter, concern, business, *affair 2 Thing, object, article are comprehensive terms applicable to whatever is apprehended as having actual, distinct, and demonstrable existence. They vary, however, in their range of application. Thing is the… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • thing — [n1] something felt, seen, perceived affair, anything, apparatus, article, being, body, business, circumstance, commodity, concept, concern, configuration, contrivance, corporeality, creature, device, element, entity, everything, existence,… …   New thesaurus

  • Thing — Thing, Ting Ting, n. [Dan. thing, ting, Norw. ting, or Sw. ting.] In Scandinavian countries, a legislative or judicial assembly; used, esp. in composition, in titles of such bodies. See {Legislature}, Norway. [Webster 1913 Suppl.] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Thing — Sn Volks und Gerichtsversammlung der Germanen erw. obs. (18. Jh.) Stammwort. Die Volksversammlung hieß ahd. ding, as. thing, das in normaler Entwicklung mit Bedeutungsveränderung nhd. Ding ergeben hat. Vermutlich wegen dieser… …   Etymologisches Wörterbuch der deutschen sprache

  • thing — ► NOUN 1) an inanimate material object. 2) an unspecified object. 3) (things) personal belongings or clothing. 4) an action, activity, concept, or thought. 5) (things) unspecified circumstances or matters: how are things? 6) …   English terms dictionary

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