A Dictionary of the English Language
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Thou (noun)

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Thou. n.s. [þu, Saxon; du, Dutch; in the oblique cases singular thee, þe, Saxon; in the plural ye, ʒe, Saxon; in the oblique cases plural you, eow, Saxon.]

  1. The second pronoun personal.

    Is this a dagger which I see before me,
    The handle tow'rd my hand? Come let me clutch thee.
    I have thee not, and yet I see thee still.
    Art thou not, fatal vision, sensible
    To feeling as to sight.
    Shakesp. Macbeth.

    I am as like to call thee so again,
    To spit on thee again, to spurn thee too,
    If thou wilt lend this money lend it not
    As to thy friend.
    Shakesp. Merchant of Venice.

    Thou, if there be a thou in this base town,
    Who dares with angry Eupolis to frown;
    Who at enormous villany turns pale,
    And steers against it with a full-blown sail.
    Dryden.

  2. It is used only in very familiar or very solemn language. When we speak to equals or superiors we say you; but in solemn language, and in addresses of worship, we say thou.

Sources: Dryden, John (788) · Shakespeare's Macbeth (136) · Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice (83)

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Cite this page: Johnson, Samuel. "Thou (noun)." A Dictionary of the English Language: A Digital Edition of the 1755 Classic by Samuel Johnson. Edited by Brandi Besalke. Last modified: November 12, 2012. http://johnsonsdictionaryonline.com/?p=3048.


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