throne (n.) Look up throne at
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 PIE root *dher- (2) "to hold firmly, support" (source also of Latin firmus "firm, steadfast, strong, stable," Sanskrit dharma "statute, law;" see firm (adj.)). 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.
throng (n.) Look up throng at
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").
throng (v.) Look up throng at
"go in a crowd," 1530s, from throng (n.). Earlier it meant "to press, crush" (c. 1400). Related: Thronged; thronging.
throstle (n.) Look up throstle at
"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)).
throttle (v.) Look up throttle at
"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.
throttle (n.) Look up throttle at
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.
through (prep., adv.) Look up through at
late 14c., metathesis of Old English þurh, from Proto-Germanic *thurkh (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" (source also of Sanskrit tirah, Avestan taro "through, beyond," Latin trans "beyond," Old Irish tre, Welsh tra "through"). Not clearly differentiated from thorough until early Modern English. Spelling thro was common 15c.-18c. Reformed spelling thru (1839) is mainly American English.
throughly (adv.) Look up throughly at
"fully, completely," mid-15c., from through + -ly (2). Archaic alternative to thoroughly.
throughout (prep.) Look up throughout at
late Old English þurhut; see through + out (adv.). Similar formation in German durchaus.
throughput (n.) Look up throughput at
"energy, activity," 1808, Scottish slang; from through + put. Industrial sense is from 1915.
throughway (n.) Look up throughway at
"expressway, large toll road," 1934, American English, from through + way (n.).
throve Look up throve at
sometime past tense of thrive (v.).
throw (v.) Look up throw at
"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 *tere- (1) "to rub, turn, rub by turning, bore" (source also of Sanskrit turah "wounded, hurt," Greek teirein "to rub, rub away," Latin terere "to rub, thresh, grind, wear away," Old Church Slavonic tiro "to rub," Lithuanian trinu "to rub," Old Irish tarathar "borer," Welsh taraw "to strike").

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.

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.
throw (n.) Look up throw (n.) at
"act of throwing," 1520s, from throw (v.). Wrestling sense is first attested 1819.
throwaway (adj.) Look up throwaway at
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.
throwback (n.) Look up throwback at
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).
thrown Look up thrown at
past participle of throw (v.).
thru (prep.) Look up thru at
by 1839, altered spelling of through; at first often in representations of dialect (Scottish, Yankee), by 1880s in standard use as a simplified spelling.
thrum (v.) Look up thrum at
"play a stringed instrument," 1590s, from the noun (1550s), of imitative origin. Related: Thrummed; thrumming.
thruout Look up thruout at
contraction of throughout.
thrush (n.1) Look up thrush at
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, Lithuainian strazdas "thrush," Middle Irish truid, Welsh drudwy "starling," Old Church Slavonic drozgu, Russian drozdu).
thrush (n.2) Look up thrush at
throat disease, 1660s, probably from a Scandinavian source (such as Norwegian, Danish trøske, Swedish torsk), but its roots and original meaning are unclear.
thrust (v.) Look up thrust at
late 12c., from a Scandinavian source akin to Old Norse þrysta "to thrust, force, press," from Proto-Germanic *thrustijanan, perhaps from PIE *treud- "push, press" (see threat), but OED finds this derivation doubtful. Related: Thrusting.
thrust (n.) Look up thrust at
1510s, "act of pressing," from thrust (v.). Meaning "act of thrusting" (in the modern sense) is from 1580s. Meaning "propulsive force" is from 1708. Figurative sense of "principal theme, aim, point, purpose" is recorded from 1968.
thruster (n.) Look up thruster at
type of rocket engine, 1962, agent noun; see thrust (n.).
thud (v.) Look up thud at
Old English þyddan "to strike, stab, thrust, press," of imitative origin. Sense of "hit with a dull sound" first recorded 1796. Related: Thudded; thudding. The noun is attested from 1510s as "blast of wind;" 1530s as "loud sound."
thug (n.) Look up thug at
1810, "member of a gang of murderers and robbers in India who strangled their victims," from Marathi thag, thak "cheat, swindler," Hindi thag, perhaps from Sanskrit sthaga-s "cunning, fraudulent," from sthagayati "(he) covers, conceals," perhaps from PIE root *(s)teg- (2) "to cover" (see stegosaurus).
The thugs roamed about the country in bands of from 10 to 100, usually in the disguise of peddlers or pilgrims, gaining the confidence of other travelers, whom they strangled, when a favorable opportunity presented itself, with a handkerchief, an unwound turban, or a noosed cord. The shedding of blood was seldom resorted to. The motive of the thugs was not so much lust of plunder as a certain religious fanaticism. The bodies of their victims were hidden in graves dug with a consecrated pickax, and of their spoil one third was devoted to the goddess Kali, whom they worshiped. [Century Dictionary]
The more correct Indian name is phanseegur (from phansi "noose"), and the activity was described in English as far back as c. 1665. Rigorously prosecuted by the British from 1831, they were driven from existence by century's end. Transferred sense of "ruffian, cutthroat, violent lowbrow" is from 1839.
thuggery (n.) Look up thuggery at
1839, from thug + -ery. Also thugee, from the native Hindi name for the system of religious assassination practiced by the thugs.
thuggish (adj.) Look up thuggish at
"ruffianly, brutal and forceful," 1870, from thug + -ish. Related: Thuggishly; thuggishness.
Thule Look up Thule at
region or island at northernmost part of the world, Old English, from Latin, from Greek Thyle "land six days' sail north of Britain" (Strabo, quoting a lost portion of a work by Polybius, itself based on a lost account of a voyage to the north by 4c. B.C.E. geographer Pytheas). The identity of the place and the source of the name have sparked much speculation; Polybius doubted the whole thing, and since Roman times the name has been used in a transferred sense of "extreme limits of travel" (Ultima Thule).
The barbarians showed us where the sun set. For it happened in those places that the night was extremely short, lasting only two or three hours; and the sun sunk under the horizon, after a short interval reappeared at his rising. [Pytheas]
The name was given to a trading post in Greenland in 1910, site of a U.S. air base in World War II.
thulium (n.) Look up thulium at
1879, Modern Latin, from thulia (thulite), name of an earth found in Scandinavia, from which the element was identified in 1879 by Swedish geologist Per Tedor Cleve (1840-1905), from Thule, which sometimes was identified as Scandinavia. With metallic element ending -ium.
thumb (n.) Look up thumb at
Old English þuma, from Proto-Germanic *thumon- (source also of Old Frisian thuma, Old Saxon, Old High German thumo, German Daumen, Dutch duim "thumb," Old Norse þumall "thumb of a glove"), literally "the stout or thick (finger)," from PIE *tum- "swell," from root *teue- (2) "to swell" (see thigh). For spelling with -b (attested from late 13c.), see limb.
In some of the IE languages there is a single word for "thumb," which is called the "big finger," like NE big toe. Many of the single words are of similar semantic origin, based on the notion of "stout, thick." [Buck]
Compare Greek megas daktylos "thumb," but Greek also had antikheir, literally "what is opposite the fingers." Italian pollice, French pouce are from Latin pollex, perhaps formed (on analogy of index) from pollere "to be strong."

To be under (someone's) thumb "be totally controlled by that person" is recorded from 1580s. Thumbs up (1887) and thumbs down (1906) were said to be from expressions of approval or the opposite in ancient amphitheaters, especially gladiator shows, where the gesture decided whether a defeated combatant was spared or slain. But the Roman gesture was merely one of hiding the thumb in the hand or extending it. Perhaps the modern gesture is from the usual coachmen's way of greeting while the hands are occupied with the reins.
thumb (v.) Look up thumb at
"to go through" (especially of printed material), 1930, from thumb (n.), though the related sense of "soil or wear by handling" dates from 1640s. Earlier as a verb it meant "to play (a musical instrument) with the thumb" (1590s). Meaning "to hitchhike" is 1939; originally the thumb pointed in the direction one wished to travel. Related: Thumbed; thumbing. To thumb (one's) nose as an expression of derision is recorded from 1903.
thumbnail (n.) Look up thumbnail at
c. 1600, from thumb (n.) + nail (n.). Meaning "drawing or sketch of a small size" (though usually not literally the size of a thumbnail) is from 1852.
thumbtack (n.) Look up thumbtack at
tack with a broad, flat head which may be driven by pressure from the thumb, 1884, from thumb (n.) + tack (n.1).
thump (v.) Look up thump at
1530s, "to strike hard," probably imitative of the sound made by hitting with a heavy object (compare East Frisian dump "a knock," Swedish dialectal dumpa "to make a noise"). Related: Thumped; thumping.
thump (n.) Look up thump at
1550s, "dull, heavy sound," from thump (v.). As "a hard blow" from 1620s.
thumping (adj.) Look up thumping at
"exceptionally large," colloquial, 1570s, present participle adjective from thump (v.).
thunder (v.) Look up thunder at
13c., from Old English þunrian, from the source of thunder (n.). Figurative sense of "to speak loudly, threateningly, or bombastically" is recorded from mid-14c. Related: Thundered; thundering. Compare Dutch donderen, German donnern.
thunder (n.) Look up thunder at
mid-13c., from Old English þunor "thunder, thunderclap; the god Thor," from Proto-Germanic *thunraz (source also of Old Norse þorr, Old Frisian thuner, Middle Dutch donre, Dutch donder, Old High German donar, German Donner "thunder"), from PIE *(s)tene- "to resound, thunder" (source also of Sanskrit tanayitnuh "thundering," Persian tundar "thunder," Latin tonare "to thunder"). Swedish tordön is literally "Thor's din." The unetymological -d- also is found in Dutch and Icelandic versions of the word (compare sound (n.1)). Thunder-stick, imagined word used by primitive peoples for "gun," attested from 1904.
thunderbird (n.) Look up thunderbird at
legendary cause of thunder in many Native American cultures, 1848, a translation of native words, such as Ojibwa (Algonquian) aninikii, Lakotah (Siouan) wakiya, Klamath /lmelmnis/. See thunder (n.) + bird (n.1). In Lakhota, "the thunderbirds call" is "the usual expression for thunder" [Bright].
thunderbolt (n.) Look up thunderbolt at
mid-15c., from thunder (n.) + bolt (n.) "arrow, projectile."
thunderclap (n.) Look up thunderclap at
also thunder-clap, late 14c., from thunder (n.) + clap (n.1).
thunderhead (n.) Look up thunderhead at
"high-piled cumulus cloud," one likely to develop into a thunderstorm, 1861, from thunder (n.) + head (n.).
thunderous (adj.) Look up thunderous at
1580s, from thunder (n.) + -ous. Related: Thunderously.
thunderstorm (n.) Look up thunderstorm at
also thunder-storm, 1560s, from thunder (n.) + storm (n.).
thunderstruck (adj.) Look up thunderstruck at
1610s, from thunder (n.) + struck. Originally figurative; the literal sense (1630s) always has been rare. Thunder-strike (v.), is a back-formation.
thunk (n.) Look up thunk at
sound of impact, attested from 1952, echoic.
thunk (v.) Look up thunk at
dialectal or jocular past tense or past participle of think, by 1876. Not historical, but by analogy of drink/drunk, sink/sunk, etc.
Thuringia Look up Thuringia at
region in Germany, German Thüringen, named for the ancient Thoringi people.