"it appears to me" (now archair or poetic only), from Old English me þyncð "it seems to me," from me (pron.), dative of I, + þyncð, third person singular of þyncan "to seem," reflecting the Old English distinction between þyncan "to seem" and related þencan "to think," which bedevils modern students of the language (see think). The two thinks were constantly confused, then finally merged, in Middle English. Related: Methought.
Old English þancian, þoncian "to give thanks, thank, to recompense, to reward," from Proto-Germanic *thankōjanan (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.
To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it, to believe that democracy was impossible and that the Party was the guardian of democracy, to forget whatever it was necessary to forget, then to draw it back into memory again at the moment when it was needed, and then promptly to forget it again, and above all, to apply the same process to the process itself—that was the ultimate subtlety: consciously to induce unconsciousness, and then, once again, to become unconscious of the act of hypnosis you had just performed. Even to understand the word—doublethink—involved the use of doublethink. ["Nineteen Eighty-Four"]
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."
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.
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).