- textbook (n.)
- also text-book, "book used by students," 1779, from text (n.) + book (n.). Earlier (1730) it meant "book printed with wide spaces between the lines" for notes or translation (such a book would have been used by students), from the notion of the text of a book being more open than the close notes. As an adjective from 1916.
- textile (n.)
- 1620s, from Latin textilis "a web, canvas, woven fabric, cloth, something woven," noun use of textilis "woven, wrought," from texere "to weave," from PIE root *teks- "to weave," also "to fabricate." As an adjective from 1650s.
- textual (adj.)
- late 14c., textuel "of or pertaining to text," also "well-read," from Old French textuel, from Latin textus (see text). English spelling conformed to Latin from late 15c. Related: Textually.
- texture (n.)
- early 15c., "network, structure," from Middle French texture and directly from Latin textura "web, texture, structure," from stem of texere "to weave," from PIE root *teks- "to weave, to fabricate, to make; make wicker or wattle framework" (source also of Sanskrit taksati "he fashions, constructs," taksan "carpenter;" Avestan taša "ax, hatchet," thwaxš- "be busy;" Old Persian taxš- "be active;" Latin tela "web, net, warp of a fabric;" Greek tekton "carpenter," tekhne "art;" Old Church Slavonic tesla "ax, hatchet;" Lithuanian tasau "to carve;" Old Irish tal "cooper's ax;" Old High German dahs, German Dachs "badger," literally "builder;" Hittite taksh- "to join, unite, build"). Meaning "structural character" is recorded from 1650s. Related: Textural.
- texture (v.)
- 1888 (implied in textured), "to give a texture to, to make not smooth or plain," from texture (n.).
- also T.G.I.F., by 1946, slang abbreviation of "Thank God (or "goodness"), it's Friday" (end of the work week).
- A sound found chiefly in words of Old English, Old Norse or Greek origin, unpronounceable by Normans and many other Europeans. In Greek, the sound corresponds etymologically to Sanskrit -dh- and English -d-; and it was represented graphically by -TH- and at first pronounced as a true aspirate (as still in English outhouse, shithead, etc.). But by 2c. B.C.E. the Greek letter theta was in universal use and had the modern "-th-" sound. Latin had neither the letter nor the sound, however, and the Romans represented Greek theta by -TH-, which they generally pronounced, at least in Late Latin, as simple "-t-" (passed down to Romanic languages, as in Spanish termal "thermal," teoria "theory," teatro "theater").
In Germanic languages it represents PIE *-t- and was common at the start of words or after stressed vowels. To represent it, Old English and Old Norse used the characters ð "eth" (a modified form of -d-) and þ "thorn," which originally was a rune. Old English, unlike Old Norse, seems never to have standardized which of the two versions of the sound ("hard" and "soft") was represented by which of the two letters.
The digraph -th- sometimes appears in early Old English, on the Roman model, and it returned in Middle English with the French scribes, driving out eth by c. 1250, but thorn persisted, especially in demonstratives (þat, þe, þis, etc.), even as other words were being spelled with -th-. The advent of printing dealt its death-blow, however, as types were imported from continental founders, who had no thorn. For a time y was used in its place (especially in Scotland), because it had a similar shape, hence ye for the in historical tourist trap Ye Olde _______ Shoppe (it never was pronounced "ye," only spelled that way).
The awareness that some Latin words in t- were from Greek th- encouraged over-correction in English and created unetymological forms such as Thames and author, while some words borrowed from Romanic languages preserve, on the Roman model, the Greek -th- spelling but the simple Latin "t" pronunciation (as in Thomas and thyme).
- masc. proper name, from Latin Thaddaeus, from Greek Thaddaios, from Talmudic Hebrew Tadday. Klein derives this from Aramaic tedhayya (pl.) "breasts." Thayer's "Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament" suggests the sense might be "large-hearted," hence "courageous." In the Bible, a surname of the apostle Jude, brother of James the Less.
- 1808, native name, Tai, literally "free."
- from Thai, indigenous name of the inhabitants, + land (n.). Also see Siam.
- thalamus (n.)
- plural thalami, 1753, "the receptacle of a flower," Modern Latin, from Latin thalamus "inner chamber, sleeping room" (hence, figuratively, "marriage, wedlock"), from Greek thalamos "inner chamber, bedroom," related to thalame "den, lair," tholos "vault, vaulted building." Used in English since 1756 of a part of the forebrain where a nerve appears to originate.
- thalassemia (n.)
- from thalasso- "sea" + haima "blood" (see -emia).
- before vowels thalass-, word-forming element meaning "sea, the sea," from Greek thalassa "the sea" (in Homer, when used of a particular sea, "the Mediterranean," as opposed to okeanos), a word from a lost pre-Greek Mediterranean language. In Attic Greek thalatta, hence sometimes thalatto-.
- thaler (n.)
- old German silver coin; see dollar.
- fem. proper name, from Latinized form of Greek Thaleia, "the joyful Muse," presiding over comedy and idyllic poetry, literally "the blooming one," fem. proper name from adjective meaning "blooming, luxuriant, bounteous," from thallein "to bloom," related to thalia "abundance," thallos "young shoot" (see thallus). Also the name of one of the three Graces, patroness of festive meetings.
- Thalidomide (n.)
- 1958, from "phthalimidoglutarimide," based on abbreviated form of naphthalene; a morning-sickness drug responsible for severe birth defects in Europe from 1956 to 1961, when it was withdrawn. It never was approved for use in America thanks to the efforts of Dr. Helen Brooke Taussig (1898-1986). Thalidomide baby is attested from 1962.
- thallium (n.)
- rare metallic element, 1861, Modern Latin, from Greek thallos "young shoot, green branch" (see thallus) + element name ending -ium. So called by its discoverer, Sir William Crookes (1832-1919), from the green line in its spectrum by which he detected it. Related: Thallic.
- thallus (n.)
- 1829, Latin, from Greek thallos "green shoot, young branch, twig," related to thalia "abundance," thalos "scion, child," ultimately from PIE root *dhal- "to bloom" (source also of Armenian dalar "green, fresh," Albanian dal' "I sprout," Old Irish duilesc, a type of algae).
- thalweg (n.)
- 1831, from German Thalweg "path along the bottom of a valley," from thal (see dale) + weg "road, path" (see way (n.)).
- river through London, Old English Temese, from Latin Tamesis (51 B.C.E.), from British Tamesa, an ancient Celtic river name perhaps meaning "the dark one." The -h- is unetymological (see th).
- Thammuz (n.)
- 1530s, from Hebrew tammuz, tenth month of the Jewish civil year, fourth of the sacred, covering parts of June and July; also the name of a Syrian deity equivalent to Phoenician Adon, whose festival began with the new moon of this month (compare Tammuz).
- than (conj.)
- Old English þan, conjunctive particle used after a comparative adjective or adverb, from þanne, þænne, þonne "then" (see then). Developed from the adverb then, and not distinguished from it by spelling until c. 1700.
The earliest use is in West Germanic comparative forms introducing the second member, i.e. bigger than (compare Dutch dan, German denn), which suggests a semantic development from the demonstrative sense of then: A is bigger than B, evolving from A is bigger, then ("after that") B. Or the word may trace to Old English þonne "when, when as," such as "When as" B is big, A is more (so).
- thanage (n.)
- c. 1400, from Anglo-French thaynage (c. 1300), from English thane + Old French suffix -age (see -age).
- thanatism (n.)
- belief that at death the soul ceases to exist, 1900, from thanato- + -ism.
- before vowels thanat-, word-forming element meaning "death," from Greek thanatos "death," from PIE *dhwene- "to disappear, die," perhaps from a root meaning "dark, cloudy" (compare Sanskrit dhvantah "dark"). Hence Bryant's "Thanatopsis", with Greek opsis "a sight, view."
- thanatology (n.)
- "scientific study of death," 1837, from thanato- "death" + -logy. In 1970s, some undertakers made a bid to be called thanatologists; but from 1974 that word has been used principally in reference to specialists in the needs of the terminally ill.
- thanatos (n.)
- "death instinct," 1935, in Freudian psychology, from Greek thanatos "death" (see thanato-).
- thane (n.)
- Old English þegn "military follower, one who holds lands in exchange for military service," also "vassal, retainer, attendant," from Proto-Germanic *thegnas (source also of Old Saxon thegan "follower, warrior, boy," Old Norse þegn "thane, freeman," Old High German thegan, German Degen "thane, warrior, hero"), from PIE *tek-no- (source also of Sanskrit takman "descendant, child," Greek teknon "child"), from root *tek- "to beget, give birth to" (source also of Greek tekos "child, the young of animals," tokos "childbirth, offspring, produce of money, interest"). Also used in Old English for "disciple of Christ." Specific sense of "man who ranks between an earl and a freeman" is late 15c.
The modern spelling is from Scottish, where early 13c. it came to mean "chief of a clan, king's baron," and it has predominated in English probably due to the influence of "Macbeth;" normal orthographic changes from Old English ðegn would have produced Modern English *thain. Some historians now use thegn to distinguish Anglo-Saxon thanes from Scottish thanes.
- thang (n.)
- by 1937, representing in print a Southern U.S. pronunciation thing.
- thank (v.)
- Old English þancian, þoncian "to give thanks, thank, to recompense, to reward," from Proto-Germanic *thankojan (source also of Old Saxon thancon, Old Norse þakka, Danish takke, Old Frisian thankia, Old High German danchon, Middle Dutch, Dutch, German danken "to thank"), from *thankoz "thought; gratitude," from PIE root *tong- "to think, feel."
It is related phonetically to think as song is to sing; for sense evolution, compare Old High German minna "loving memory," originally "memory." Also compare related Old English noun þanc, þonc, originally "thought," but also "good thoughts, gratitude." In ironical use, "to blame," from 1550s. To thank (someone) for nothing is recorded from 1703. Related: Thanked; thanking.
- thank you
- polite formula used in acknowledging a favor, c. 1400, short for I thank you (see thank). As a noun, from 1792.
- thankful (adj.)
- Old English þancful "satisfied, grateful," also "thoughtful, ingenious, clever;" see thank + -ful. Related: Thankfully; thankfulness. Thankfully in the sense "thankful to say" is attested by 1966, but deplored by purists (compare hopefully).
- thankless (adj.)
- "likely to not be rewarded with thanks," 1540s, from thank + -less. Related: Thanklessly; thanklessness.
- thanks (n.)
- mid-13c., plural of thank (n.), from Old English þanc, þonc in its secondary sense "grateful thought, gratitude," from the same root as thank (v.). In prehistoric times the Germanic noun seems to have expanded from "a thinking of, a remembering" to also mean "remember fondly, think of with gratitude." Compare Old Saxon thank, Old Frisian thank, Old Norse þökk, Dutch dank, German Dank. The Old English noun chiefly meant "thought, reflection, sentiment; mind, will, purpose," also "grace, mercy, pardon; pleasure, satisfaction."
As short for I give you thanks from 1580s; often with extensions, such as thanks a lot (1908). Spelling thanx attested by 1907.
- thanksgiving (n.)
- 1530s, "the giving of thanks," from thanks (n.) + present participle of give (v.). In the specific sense of "public celebration acknowledging divine favors" thanksgiving dates from 1630s (the first one in America was held October 1621 by Plymouth Colony Pilgrims in appreciation of assistance from members of the Massasoit tribe and celebration of the first harvest); though Thanksgiving Day itself is not attested until 1670s.
- now representing dialectal pronunciation of there; in literary use in Middle English.
- that (pron.)
- Old English þæt, "that, so that, after that," neuter singular demonstrative pronoun ("A Man's a Man for a' that"), relative pronoun ("O thou that hearest prayer"), and
demonstrative adjective ("Look at that caveman go!"), corresponding to masc. se, fem. seo. From Proto-Germanic *that, from PIE *tod-, extended form of demonstrative pronominal base *-to- (see -th (1)). With the breakdown of the grammatical gender system, it came to be used in Middle English and Modern English for all genders. Germanic cognates include Old Saxon that, Old Frisian thet, Middle Dutch, Dutch dat "that," German der, die, das "the."
Generally more specific or emphatic than the, but in some cases they are interchangeable. From c. 1200 opposed to this as indicating something farther off. In adverbial use ("I'm that old"), in reference to something implied or previously said, c. 1200, an abbreviation of the notion of "to that extent," "to that degree." Slang that way "in love" first recorded 1929. That-a-way "in that direction" is recorded from 1839. "Take that!" said while delivering a blow, is recorded from early 15c.
- thatch (v.)
- late 14c., thecchen, from Old English þeccan "to cover, cover over, conceal," in late Old English specifically "cover the roof of a house," related to þæc "roof, thatching material," from Proto-Germanic *thakjan (source also of Old Saxon thekkian, Old Norse þekja, Old Frisian thekka, Middle Dutch decken, Dutch dekken, Old High German decchen, German decken "to cover"), from PIE root *(s)teg- "to cover."
- thatch (n.)
- Old English þæc "roof, thatch, cover of a building," from Proto-Germanic *thakam (source also of Old Norse þak, Old Frisian thek, Swedish tak, Danish tag, Middle Dutch, Dutch dak "roof," Old High German dah "covering, cover," German Dach "roof"), from PIE root *(s)teg- "to cover."
- thatcher (n.)
- early 14c. (late 12c. as a surname); agent noun from thatch (v.). Corresponds to Old English þecere, Dutch dekker, German Decker. Thatcherite in British politics (1976) refers to policies and principles of Conservative politician and prime minister Margaret Thatcher (1925-2013).
- thaught (n.)
- "rower's bench," 1620s, alteration of thoft, from Old English þofte, from Proto-Germanic *thufto- (source also of Dutch doft, German ducht), from PIE *tupta-, from root *tup- "to squat."
- thaumaturge (n.)
- "wonder-worker," 1715, from Medieval Latin thaumaturgus, from Greek thaumatourgos "wonder-working; conjurer," from thauma (genitive thaumatos) "wonder, astonishment; wondrous thing," literally "a thing to look at," from root of theater, + ergon "work" (from PIE root *werg- "to do").
- thaumaturgy (n.)
- "wonder-working," 1727, from Greek thaumatourgia, from thaumatourgos (see thaumaturge). Related: Thaumaturgic; thaumaturgical (1620s).
- thaw (v.)
- Old English þawian (transitive), from Proto-Germanic *thawon- (source also of Old Norse þeyja, Middle Low German doien, Dutch dooien, Old High German douwen, German tauen "to thaw"), from PIE root *ta- "to melt, dissolve" (source also of Sanskrit toyam "water," Ossetic thayun "to thaw," Welsh tawadd "molten," Doric Greek takein "to melt, waste, be consumed," Old Irish tam "pestilence," Latin tabes "a melting, wasting away, putrefaction," Old Church Slavonic tajati "to melt"). Intransitive sense from early 14c. Related: Thawed; thawing.
- thaw (n.)
- "the melting of ice or snow," also "spell of weather causing this," c. 1400, from thaw (v.). Figurative sense is from 1590s; specifically "relaxation of political harshness or hostility" from 1950, an image from the "Cold War."
- THC (n.)
- active ingredient in marijuana and hashish, 1968, short for tetrahydrocannabinol (1940).
- definite article, late Old English þe, nominative masculine form of the demonstrative pronoun and adjective. After c.950, it replaced earlier se (masc.), seo (fem.), þæt (neuter), and probably represents se altered by the th- form which was used in all the masculine oblique cases (see below).
Old English se is from PIE root *so- "this, that" (source also of Sanskrit sa, Avestan ha, Greek ho, he "the," Irish and Gaelic so "this"). For the þ- forms, see that. The s- forms were entirely superseded in English by mid-13c., excepting a slightly longer dialectal survival in Kent. Old English used 10 different words for "the" (see table), but did not distinguish "the" from "that." That survived for a time as a definite article before vowels (that one or that other).
Adverbial use in the more the merrier, the sooner the better, etc. is a relic of Old English þy, the instrumentive case of the neuter demonstrative (see that).
- fem. proper name, from Greek thea "goddess," fem. equivalent of theos "god" (see theo-).
- theater (n.)
- late 14c., "open air place in ancient times for viewing spectacles and plays," from Old French theatre (12c., Modern French théâtre, improperly accented) and directly from Latin theatrum "play-house, theater; stage; spectators in a theater" (source also of Spanish, Italian teatro), from Greek theatron "theater; the people in the theater; a show, a spectacle," literally "place for viewing," from theasthai "to behold" (related to thea "a view, a seeing; a seat in the theater," theates "spectator") + -tron, suffix denoting place.
Meaning "building where plays are shown" is from 1570s in English. Transferred sense of "plays, writing, production, the stage" is from 1660s. Generic sense of "place of action" is from 1580s; especially "region where war is being fought" (1914). Spelling with -re arose late 17c. and prevailed in Britain after c. 1700 by French influence, but American English retained or revived the older spelling in -er.
- theatre (n.)
- chiefly British English spelling of theater (q.v.); for spelling, see -re.