Definition of thing in English:

thing

noun

  • 1An object that one need not, cannot, or does not wish to give a specific name to.

    ‘look at that metal rail thing over there’
    ‘there are lots of things I'd like to buy’
    • ‘Lia wished the thing he had given her would just vibrate; a feeling of unease rested in the pit of her stomach.’
    • ‘My suitcase contains many things but one thing you can be sure of is that I've probably not got enough pants.’
    • ‘The pink thing beside her is her G-string which she took out and decided not to wear back.’
    • ‘I did that thing that lots of blokes do when presented with a thing that has instructions.’
    • ‘If you had all the money you could wish for, name three things you would purchase.’
    • ‘Margalo looked them up and down for the thing she had required both of them to bring.’
    • ‘Everyone is opting for the thing that sells the easiest and requires the least amount of work.’
    • ‘Get an idea of prices by going to lots of shops that carry the kind of thing that interests you.’
    • ‘All in the name of testing new materials for things like planes and spacecraft.’
    • ‘Helen has the material things many would envy, but she is desperately trying to break free.’
    • ‘Quite simply, the thing won't work without the base scanning the skies for missiles.’
    • ‘If you look at photos from way back, when you were a kid, the fashions date the thing.’
    • ‘We went out to find some dinner and of course the only thing open was the chippie.’
    • ‘I put this thing on and looked in the mirror and it was like I had turned into a cartoon.’
    • ‘If this thing goes out again, it'll cost as much to repair it as it will to replace it.’
    • ‘He just wasn't into material things, but he did like to drink and get laid.’
    • ‘Didn't I say last night I would go to Croydon to spend a small fortune on things for my living room.’
    • ‘Yefu took only a few necessary things with him, including a cup, a mobile phone, and bedding.’
    object, article, item, artefact, commodity
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1thingsPersonal belongings or clothing.
      ‘she began to unpack her things’
      belongings, possessions, stuff, property, worldly goods, goods, personal effects, effects, paraphernalia, impedimenta, bits and pieces, bits and bobs
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2with adjective or noun modifier thingsEquipment, utensils, or other objects used for a particular purpose.
      ‘they cleared away the lunch things’
      equipment, apparatus, gear, kit, tackle, stuff
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3a thingwith negative Anything (used for emphasis)
      ‘she couldn't find a thing to wear’
      • ‘They know exactly what they're doing and in that respect I don't have a thing to worry about.’
      • ‘I'll let them know what you have planned for us tonight, so don't worry about a thing.’
      • ‘She felt as if she could just get lost in his eyes forever and not ever have a thing to worry about.’
      • ‘They were absolutely not worried about a thing until I put on a robe and then Stellan screamed the house down.’
      • ‘We can't have anything like that, we've never done a thing like this before.’
      • ‘He could pick and choose as he pleased and he wouldn't have to worry about a single damn thing.’
    4. 1.4Used to express one's disapproval of or contempt for something.
      ‘you won't find me smoking those filthy things’
    5. 1.5thingswith postpositive adjective All that can be described in the specified way.
      ‘his love for all things English’
      • ‘He seems to have developed a penchant for all things good, wholesome and American.’
      • ‘O'Hagan did not always have such seething contempt for all things Caledonian.’
      • ‘His fascination with all things Chopper also extends to the world wide web.’
    6. 1.6Used euphemistically to refer to a man's penis.
  • 2An inanimate material object as distinct from a living sentient being.

    ‘I'm not a thing, not a work of art to be cherished’
    1. 2.1with adjective A living creature or plant.
      ‘the sea is the primal source of all living things on earth’
      • ‘I want you to save the righteous people and two of every kind of living thing on the earth.’
      • ‘The trees protected by this bill are among the oldest, tallest, and largest living things on earth.’
      • ‘Now, obviously, the presence of living things on Earth runs counter to this rule.’
      • ‘Property should only be destroyed if no living thing is going to be hurt.’
      • ‘Any living thing which brought life and movement to stir the sullen stillness of it all would be silenced.’
      • ‘Nothing grew on its land, and no living thing was reared in its sheds and barns.’
      • ‘It must take a heartless person to even be able to carry out experiments on any living thing.’
      • ‘DNA is the common thread that links every living thing with a single primeval ancestor.’
      • ‘Lead is toxic to every living thing and adversely affects every system in the body.’
      • ‘My family raised me to believe that not only humans but all living beings and natural things deserve respect.’
      • ‘I know that I will continue to be amazed and absorbed by the mystery of living things.’
      • ‘This consideration must surely tell us that all living things were not made for man.’
      • ‘We scooped up margarine tubs full of pond water and saw a host of living things in our little container.’
      • ‘Fossils are relics of living things that tell us something about the past.’
      • ‘Clearly all living things need to consume in order to stay alive, and humans are no exception.’
      • ‘The creation story in Genesis established an account for the origin of living things.’
      • ‘There isn't a living thing which doesn't alter its natural environment in some way.’
      • ‘It is our sense of interconnection with all living things that brings us to respect the rights of animals.’
      • ‘It sets out to establish an equilibrium in the use of carbon, the material of living things.’
      • ‘Living things search for their own fuel, and at times have to regulate their own temperatures.’
    2. 2.2with adjective Used to express one's feelings of pity, affection, approval, or contempt for a person or animal.
      ‘have a nice weekend in the country, you lucky thing!’
      ‘the lamb was a puny little thing’
      person, soul, creature, wretch
      View synonyms
  • 3An action, event, thought, or utterance.

    ‘she said the first thing that came into her head’
    ‘the only thing I could do well was cook’
    • ‘There is one girl in my class who constantly says funny things which I wish I could remember later.’
    • ‘Get out of the armchair, do things you enjoy and things you think will make a difference.’
    • ‘You should thus try to convince your husband that such a thing is not socially acceptable.’
    • ‘This sort of thing happened quite often when Nathaniel was given a shock.’
    • ‘The British Championships are now half way through and so far have been quite a close run thing.’
    • ‘The use of any part of any creature for this type of thing is quite unacceptable.’
    • ‘I don't enjoy shopping but wandering a mall with Wendy and Mark can be a fun thing.’
    • ‘They are convinced they did the right thing in reporting the activities of the two youths.’
    • ‘The only thing enterprises could do was mass produce, regardless of market feedback.’
    • ‘On the way back the worst thing possible that could happen in a car happened.’
    • ‘Blowing the whistle on any illegal or unethical activities is the right thing to do.’
    • ‘At the awards ceremony, the pair said they would do the same thing again if the situation arose.’
    • ‘Born of all the distress of that situation came the one thing that I was truly unprepared for.’
    • ‘Say what you will, but I believe the majority of people would do the same thing in our situation.’
    • ‘One minute a team is going great, then a couple of putts go in or stay out and the whole thing switches round the other way.’
    • ‘He said it was very difficult not being able to work and doing the same thing day after day.’
    • ‘The frigid old crone who taught us made copulation seem like the most boring thing possible.’
    • ‘If there is one thing referee Michael Jones doesn't do, it's play to the crowd.’
    • ‘Yes, he had to go and in going he did the last honourable thing open to him.’
    • ‘The most important thing management can do is to stay in touch with the people who do the real work in the company.’
    activity
    thought, notion, idea, concept, conception
    remark, statement, comment, utterance, observation, declaration, pronouncement
    incident, episode, event, happening, occurrence, eventuality, phenomenon
    View synonyms
    1. 3.1thingsCircumstances or matters that are unspecified.
      ‘things haven't gone entirely to plan’
      ‘how are things with you?’
      • ‘The kiss of love is the kiss of life and no matter how badly things have been going, it's the kiss that heals.’
      • ‘It seems like the lesson here is to let things slide, no matter how painful things get.’
      • ‘I now realise that all is not lost, no matter how bad things get, all is never lost.’
      • ‘Challenge your beliefs about the bad things that might happen if you show your emotions.’
      • ‘The good thing about gallows humour is no matter how bad things get you can always find some wag ready to crack a joke.’
      • ‘We can try and come up with ways of making things better, no matter how tough that may be.’
      • ‘No matter how bad things get, you must never think that God does not exist.’
      • ‘Not for one instant, no matter how tough things got, would I have quit a fight.’
      • ‘I told Jacques to press this with all his might and not back down, no matter how dire things looked.’
      • ‘Even now, two years on, Smith struggles to describe exactly why things went so wrong.’
      • ‘The other alternative is to sit on the sidelines and wish that things were different.’
      • ‘It was doubtful, she knew, but nevertheless, she wished things had not ended the way they did.’
      • ‘There are times when I wish things were different, if only because the people deserve better.’
      • ‘The child also perceives that things are going well living with his grandmother.’
      • ‘That is to say, he used it as an example of how bad things can get if we don't act soon enough.’
      • ‘But it's hard to tell this close to the event exactly how things are going to change.’
      • ‘Many people no longer believe in our capacity to control events and change things for the better.’
      • ‘You hear a lot of longtime residents lament that they wish things were the way they used to be.’
      • ‘I remember we complained to one another at the time and thought how we wish things could change.’
      • ‘We worked hard and we fought hard, and I wish that things had turned out a little differently.’
      matters, affairs, circumstances, conditions, relations
      View synonyms
    2. 3.2An abstract entity, quality, or concept.
      ‘mourning and depression are not the same thing’
      ‘they had one thing in common—they were men of action’
      • ‘It is not at all necessary, though, that such a concept or such a thing exist.’
      • ‘A concept that has too many clothes may in the end be the same thing as a concept that has none.’
      • ‘We realised how our hobby was the thing we had in common and the most important part of that was sharing.’
      • ‘The only thing they have in common are the double rather than single quotation marks around them.’
      • ‘The only thing we had in common was that we were both appalled and shamed by the Waynes of this world.’
      • ‘As I walked through the cold steel passageways, every room I entered had the same thing in common.’
      • ‘The limits of our knowledge is one of the things that fascinates me most.’
      • ‘He admits he has always tended to obsess over things, these obsessions being mostly musical.’
      • ‘There seemed to be no such thing as third time lucky for the Sliding Rock mine.’
      • ‘This is not the sort of thing where we require the law to protect us from ourselves.’
      • ‘The question of his virtue is of course quite another thing altogether.’
      • ‘To pretend otherwise is not only an insult to those efforts but it also implies there is no such thing as social change.’
      • ‘Accept there's no such thing as the perfect partner but you can get pretty close.’
      • ‘Yes, quality is the only thing that matters when we are talking about export education.’
      • ‘We could easily end up in a situation where the only thing left is, in a sense, the shadow of a monarchy.’
      • ‘The one thing patients want out of the inquiry is for lessons to be learned.’
      • ‘In any case, if there is one thing Italians do not naturally embrace it is change.’
      • ‘If there's one thing life so far has taught me, it's that you can't hide from reality.’
      • ‘Of course, this is the type of thing that the media would be all over if it were a Republican.’
      • ‘What they fail to consider is the harsh reality that there is no such thing as a new morality.’
      characteristic, quality, attribute, property, trait, feature, point, aspect, facet, element
      fact, piece of information, point, detail, particular, factor
      View synonyms
    3. 3.3An example or type of something.
      ‘the game is the latest thing in family fun’
      • ‘I've never been a fan of that sort of thing but with fashion being what it is these days I let her have it done.’
      • ‘The bottom line is society hasn't opened up much to accept this kind of thing.’
      • ‘The young girl appeared oblivious to what he was up to; Martin guessed she did this sort of thing quite often.’
      • ‘There was a time when really this thing was not taken as seriously as it should have been.’
      • ‘They are the kind of thing that lead us to react in ways which are far graver than the damage they do.’
    4. 3.4informal with adjective or noun modifier A situation or activity of a specified type or quality.
      ‘your being here is just a friendship thing, OK?’
      • ‘She was afraid because this modeling thing was a new situation so removed from her reality.’
      • ‘I'm doing the premiere party thing tonight, so will have something to say about it tomorrow.’
      • ‘The older son thing requires its own space, so the telling will be separate, if it happens.’
      • ‘But there was almost a reluctance to do sculpture, because it was such a family thing.’
      • ‘It has always been a family thing—we used to drive out in a bike and side-car when our two sons were small.’
      • ‘You can see the genuine affection there and it's not a showbiz couple thing.’
      • ‘Subman, who has a few years on me, went on and did the family thing, put on a few kilos, and gave up surfing.’
      • ‘In the early days, punk was a Northern thing, and more specifically, a Manchester thing.’
      matters, affairs, circumstances, conditions, relations
      View synonyms
    5. 3.5informal A romantic or sexual relationship.
      ‘Phil and Lisa had been having a thing’
      • ‘OMG I didn't know he and Kirsten had a thing.’
      • ‘He and Jack finally have a thing going on and then he dies.’
      • ‘Asked about the rumoured relationship in an interview, she insisted: We've never had a thing.’
      • ‘Trevor had a thing with her sister and got her pregnant, so there's a big backstory there.’
      • ‘Rob's been having problems with his girlfriend and it's being said that the problem is because Rob and Kayleigh might be having a thing.’
      • ‘Julian had a thing with Shelby and Candace had a thing with an anonymous stranger.’
      • ‘Danny loves Taylor, and Kylie has a thing with Sam.’
      • ‘Husband had a thing with the babysitter, who then moves in with husband and child.’
    6. 3.6informal An established or genuine phenomenon or practice (typically used in expressions registering surprise or incredulity)
      ‘according to media reports, sleep texting is now a thing among serious smartphone addicts’
      ‘he looks like he's wearing boxers underneath his trunks (is that a thing?)’
      • ‘Here are the 10 Dos and Don'ts of Facebook-stalking your crush, if that's still a thing now.’
      • ‘He cries some more, since that is a thing this season.’
      • ‘Georgio, I can tell how old you are, because the kids today probably don't know that candy cigarettes were ever a thing.’
      • ‘If Heather's reading, we have a feeling her goal was hipster biker chic, but please know that is not now and will never be a thing.’
      • ‘Is it a thing now to throw Barbie dolls on stage during a concert?’
      • ‘I'm not sure if anyone was trading butter for dessert, but bartering at restaurants is a thing.’
      • ‘Miller's sporting a string of very fashionable Fair Isle sweaters, so is that a thing now?’
      • ‘Add some pizazz to your pregnancy by body-painting your baby bump (seriously, this is a thing).’
      • ‘Kind of sad that having a glucose-measuring device for your kids is a thing now, worthy of a feature.’
      • ‘Winter white may work in November, but winter egg-shell blue is definitely not a thing.’
  • 4the thinginformal What is needed or required.

    ‘you need a tonic—and here's just the thing’
    1. 4.1What is socially acceptable or fashionable.
      ‘it wouldn't be quite the thing to go to a royal garden party in wellies’
      • ‘At the newcomer level, sketch shows seem quite the thing.’
      • ‘Apparently it's quite the thing to drop out of society for months and take to the rivers and byways.’
      • ‘Around the time of Michael and A Life Less Ordinary, angels were quite the thing.’
      fashionable, in fashion, in vogue, popular, all the rage
      View synonyms
  • 5one's thinginformal One's special interest or inclination.

    ‘reading isn't my thing’
    what one likes, what interests one
    View synonyms
  • 6the thinginformal Used to introduce or emphasize an important point.

    ‘the thing is, I am going to sell this house’
    ‘here's the thing: this is a story, not a piece of hard news’
    ‘that's the thing about style—no two people are completely alike’
    • ‘It was almost 20 years ago, and the thing was, it was introducing a revolutionary product.’
    • ‘‘But the thing was, of course, you got your revenge when it came to your turn,’ he says with relish.’
    • ‘You know, the thing was, Australia was really held to ransom there, as far as I'm concerned.’
    • ‘Well, the thing was that I was busy Saturday, tired out Sunday, and feeling apathetic Monday.’
    • ‘But the thing is, Prof Kaufmann has been through the old reports again recently.’
    • ‘And the thing is, China is trying to make Japan fess up to its brutal crimes of history.’
    • ‘As far as the Rove story, the thing is that Washington journalists are actually involved.’
    • ‘But the thing is for all the DVDs in the world, what I really want is music - good music.’
    • ‘But the thing is, students will google while they write whether they're forbidden to or not.’
    • ‘And the thing is, just two days back I put through an insurance plan for myself.’
    • ‘And the thing is, he is not even good looking, rich, or whatever criteria makes guys popular!’
    • ‘And the thing is, I'm not sure that the broadcasters ever said what sin the question actually referred to.’
    • ‘I know I've said that I like winter, and cold weather, but the thing is, I like it in winter!’
    • ‘But the thing is, a website is not a therapy session, and I lost a little discipline there for a bit.’
    • ‘And the thing is, the things they're scared of are not the same things that we're scared of.’
    • ‘But the thing is, the rail network is not likely to make any more leaps and bounds if it keeps being shirky and apologetic.’
    • ‘Yes, but the thing is, though, he said he wants to plea bargain so he gets out of the death penalty.’
    • ‘Yes, but the thing is that we have got to start preventing some of these diseases.’
    • ‘I hope not, but the thing is, I don't necessarily want to become a famous filmmaker.’
    • ‘But the thing is that players are remembered for their deeds on the pitch, not in the media.’
    fact of the matter, fact, point, issue, problem
    View synonyms

Phrases

    be on to a good thing
    informal
    • Have found a job or other situation that is pleasant, profitable, or easy.

      ‘many directors who take dividends in lieu of salary think they are on to a good thing’
      • ‘They took advantage of the new government's inexperience at the time and, knowing that it was their first project, knew they were on to a good thing and exploited the situation to the fullest.’
      • ‘Standard Life Investments proved last week it knows when it is on to a good thing by launching a second European private equity fund which will undoubtedly be one of the largest and most significant launches by a Scottish house this year.’
      • ‘He said: ‘I reckoned that there was enough demand to set up a specialist company, and when my wife also agreed, then I knew we were on to a good thing.’’
      • ‘It doesn't take long before people catch on to a good thing.’
      • ‘Those masters were on to a good thing, for a while.’
      • ‘So I feel that not enough is being done to persuade people to give up because the government know that they're on to a good thing with the tobacco trade.’
      • ‘For his part, Mr Cowdery is convinced he is on to a good thing.’
      • ‘The duo knew they were on to a good thing when they first previewed at the Edinburgh Festival in 2002 to packed audiences.’
      • ‘He has plenty to chew on, but that is not necessarily a bad thing: should it all fall into place, he could well be on to a good thing.’
      • ‘He said: ‘If you are on to a good thing you stick with it.’’
    be hearing (or seeing) things
    • Imagine that one can hear (or see) something that is not in fact there.

      ‘the first time I spotted a puffin I thought I was seeing things’
      • ‘She is hearing things, imagining them, she knows she is.’
      • ‘I was going to tell her she was hearing things and to go back to sleep when I heard the sound of breaking furniture below.’
      • ‘Approaching the bridge, we thought we were seeing things!’
      • ‘At first I thought I was hearing things or maybe it was crows or seagulls.’
      • ‘Mark shook his head once again, as if he were seeing things.’
      • ‘I stared at her and wondered if I was seeing things.’
      • ‘I convinced myself that I was seeing things and kept walking.’
      • ‘He blinked and then refocused, convinced he was seeing things.’
      • ‘At first Melissa had always said Leah was seeing things, now she knew Leah was telling the truth.’
      • ‘She thought she was seeing things until another bolt of lightening lit up the room.’
    be all things to all men (or people)
    • 1Please everyone, typically by fitting in with their needs or expectations.

      ‘a politician running scared of the electorate and trying to be all things to all people’
      • ‘Of course, just as SAC cannot be all things to all people, the cultural strategy will not please everyone or meet all needs.’
      • ‘Simply put, like the Toronto event, it is expected to be all things to all people.’
      • ‘It was a superb attempt to be all things to all men that culminated in a result that made everyone happy.’
      • ‘The ABC can never be all things to all people, but it can be the means by which different Australians talk to each other.’
      • ‘I believe that you cannot, at all times, try to be all things to all people.’
      • ‘The government can't be all things to all people.’
      • ‘And it may require the reallocation of some of our resources, and we're going to have to understand that we can't be all things to all people.’
      • ‘I'd like to just say that politicians would like to be all things to all people.’
      • ‘We do have an obligation, but we can't be all things to all people.’
      • ‘The Liberals want to be all things to all people.’
      1. 1.1Be able to be interpreted or used differently by different people.
        ‘multimedia is all things to all men’
        • ‘You may not be able to be all things to all people, but when it comes to dairy packaging, the industry is sure trying.’
        • ‘It is trying to be all things to all people, while selling upmarket food.’
        • ‘‘You're asking a piece of wood to be all things to all people,’ he says.’
        • ‘Unix doesn't have to be all things to all people to be a great system; I don't understand why its fans can't accept that.’
        • ‘The time is past for newspapers to be all things to all people.’
        • ‘‘Radio 1 tries to be all things to all people in terms of the music that it covers,’ Bryce argues.’
        • ‘A local paper cannot be all things to all people but what it can aim for is to have something to interest a range of people from different walks of life.’
        • ‘These products would still use all the cool underlying Mozilla technology, but no longer would they try to be all things to all people, all at once.’
        • ‘Like all plans, it works for some and not for others - no plan can be all things to all people.’
        • ‘We decided to make the flower show element excellent rather than trying to be all things to all people.’
    a close (or near) thing
    • A narrow avoidance of something unpleasant.

      ‘we got him out, but it was a close thing’
      • ‘It was a near miss as far as I was concerned, a close thing.’
      • ‘It was a close thing for me too, but I was young, and have a healthy heart and I lasted the whole half-hour of assault.’
      • ‘Theodosius also built a second set of walls around Constantinople (it had been a near thing with the Visigoths) and made Christianity the official religion of the Empire.’
      • ‘The Franks had had a near thing after the Field of Blood, but Tyre and Azaz had somewhat redressed the balance.’
      • ‘He managed to put out a hand to the wall just in time, but it was a near thing.’
      • ‘It was a close thing, but he managed to miss the vein by a hair.’
      • ‘That was a close thing and even more dramatic than the story as told here on Saturday.’
      • ‘It was a near thing this time.’
    for one thing
    • Used to introduce one of two or more possible reasons for something, the remainder of which may or may not be stated.

      ‘Why hadn't he arranged to see her at the house? For one thing, it would have been warmer’
      • ‘Class, for one thing, appears to have changed radically while the Queen remains.’
      • ‘Well, for one thing, the cast of characters apparently has spread out all over the country.’
      • ‘Well, for one thing, writing a shocking story has been, historically, one way to bring yourself to public attention.’
      • ‘It's far too noisy, for one thing, plus we're all phenomenally busy, a fact that should delight upper management.’
      • ‘Well, for one thing, there's a self-defence issue here which may justify the use of lethal force by the police officer.’
      • ‘One cannot lament its influence, for one thing because to do so would be useless.’
      • ‘It's got him onto the health pages of the Telegraph, for one thing.’
      • ‘I think he wants to see how people are raising money in his wife's name, for one thing.’
      • ‘Not that I was inclined to go round: for one thing, I had no idea what to say.’
      • ‘He flags his surprise endings far too far in advance, for one thing.’
    do the — thing
    North American informal
    • Engage in the kind of behaviour typically associated with someone or something.

      ‘a film in which he does the bad-guy thing’
      • ‘While we're doing the media thing, might as well be time for a roundup.’
      • ‘He got the crowd doing the waving arms thing.’
      • ‘I don't do the tests thing very often these days.’
      • ‘He noticed she was a carrying a book or two and decided to do the gentlemen thing.’
      • ‘I resisted the temptation to do the charades thing that indicates it's a book.’
      • ‘I don't do the whole meeting-the-parents thing.’
      • ‘Can we do the whole presentations thing tomorrow?’
      • ‘We watched a game, had a few beers, did the lads thing, and generally I had a ball.’
      • ‘He is just doing the no drinking thing to keep me happy.’
      • ‘Oh I'm definitely gonna do the sneakers thing, we're all doing it.’
    do one's own thing
    informal
    • Follow one's own interests or inclinations regardless of others.

      ‘they don't seem to be a couple, they just seem to be two people who do their own thing’
      • ‘It's always welcome to find a band that are not following the crowd and really doing their own thing.’
      • ‘It's just a case of going out there and doing your own thing.’
      • ‘‘It was that teenage thing of doing your own thing as a student,’ Diana recalls.’
      • ‘The only way forward is for us all to work together; we can't have sport on one side and everyone else doing their own thing.’
      • ‘That is what you have to create at a club, not 15 individuals doing their own thing.’
      • ‘It's just that everybody's doing their own thing.’
      • ‘People began to think about doing their own thing.’
      • ‘However, there are too many individuals doing their own thing.’
      • ‘Though we did walk together as a group, everyone was virtually doing their own thing.’
      • ‘We were always independent, doing our own thing.’
    have a thing about
    informal
    • Have a strong liking for or dislike of.

      ‘she had a thing about men who wore glasses’
      ‘I've always had a thing about mirrors—I can't have one near my bed’
      • ‘I have a thing about sumptuously comfortable beds.’
      • ‘And, perhaps as a result, I've always had a thing about not eating too many sweets, although this never seemed to extend to alcohol.’
      • ‘And he had a thing about not looking directly at her.’
      • ‘‘Men have a thing about high heels,’ said sex shop manager Justin Parr.’
      • ‘Some people have a thing about their thighs, stomach or numerous chins.’
      • ‘She's lovely although she has a thing about climbing.’
      • ‘Macdonald has a thing about beaches; she can't say why, she just likes them.’
      • ‘I've always had a thing about travelling light.’
      • ‘He had a thing about redheads and he liked singers.’
      • ‘For a brief period during my childhood I had a thing about boxing.’
    have a thing for
    informal
    • Have a strong liking for.

      ‘I think he has a bit of a thing for you’
      • ‘She apparently had a thing for smart guys.’
      • ‘People will think I really do have a thing for meteorites.’
      • ‘Dana had a thing for chocolate - or candy in general.’
      • ‘He's talk, dark and handsome and has a thing for British beauties.’
      • ‘She's the young hotshot of the woman's tennis circuit and she seems to have a thing for Peter.’
      • ‘She and I have a thing for the movies and never miss the opening night of anything.’
      • ‘I think he has a bit of a thing for you.’
      • ‘When we last left our heroes, Rachel had just found out that Ross has long had a thing for her.’
      • ‘He has a thing for annoying me though.’
      • ‘He was a little miffed at Trevor's comment about him having a thing for Susie.’
    — is one thing, — is another
    • Used to indicate that the second item mentioned is much more important than the first, and cannot be compared to it.

      ‘physical attraction was one thing, love was quite another’
    do things to
    informal
    • Have a powerful emotional effect on.

      ‘it just does things to me when we kiss’
      • ‘Inspiring, amazing, and proving that in an age where film, TV, novels and the internet dominate, a truly magical piece of theatre can still do things to your feelings and emotions that no other media can.’
      • ‘In other words, pop is conceived of as an aesthetic object which is contemplated and ‘enjoyed’ by a transcendent subject, not as something which has effects on a body, which does things to you.’
      • ‘Apologies to my Portugese and Brazilian readers for confusing your beautiful language with the other one - it was the chocolate you know - it does things to my brain.’
      • ‘Maybe it's this country that does things to us.’
      • ‘It's an amazing thing to raise a child - it does things to you.’
      • ‘Unforunately, the bravado of temporary office sometimes does things to people.’
    one thing after another
    • A series of problems or difficulties.

      ‘it's one thing after another with this kid’
      • ‘I had been virtually injury free all season and then in the last few weeks I seem to have suffered one thing after another.’
      • ‘He worked hard as a farmer, but one thing after another worked against him and he never progressed very far.’
      • ‘Now, this year alone, the show has been plagued by one thing after another.’
      • ‘One thing after another crowded in upon me, demanding attention and pushing further down the list the things that really mattered.’
      • ‘Every time I try to get my new blog working I hit another problem, it's just one thing after another.’
      • ‘Our heroes undergo setbacks and minor triumphs, disasters and near-disasters, even scrapes with death - one thing after another.’
      • ‘Even as one thing after another goes wrong, he's still a lovable goof who loses his temper but never lets it get the best of him.’
      • ‘It was just one thing after another after another, but we never felt like giving up.’
      • ‘"It's been one thing after another with that shed," Cameron said, "We've been trying for ages to see if somebody wants it. There was nothing we could do in the end."’
      • ‘He said: "It's one thing after another at this club at the moment; I feel like I've been let down by the team and I can't understand why."’
    (just) one of those things
    informal
    • Used to indicate that one wishes to pass over an unfortunate experience by regarding it as unavoidable or to be accepted.

      ‘I didn't manage to go on the tour of Australia, but that was just one of those things’
      • ‘It is just one of those things you have to accept.’
      • ‘Unfortunately, is hasn't and it's just one of those things.’
      • ‘If cycling is one way to sort out York's traffic problems, how come the frequent theft of bikes is brushed off as one of those things?’
      • ‘We were in the lead at the time, but it was one of those things.’
      • ‘If I have to move on and the money could be used to help the club relocate then it's one of those things.’
      • ‘Sometimes I just chalk it down to one of those things and try and move on with my life.’
      • ‘‘It's just one of those things,’ said founder member Beatrice Brown.’
      • ‘He said: ‘There were no outward physical signs that the tree was rotten and going to come down, it was just one of those things.’’
      • ‘‘It was nobody's fault what happened in Turkey, it was just one of those things,’ added Alan.’
      • ‘‘What has happened is just one of those things and is not the club's fault but I am still very sad about it,’ said Hamilton.’
    make a (big) thing of (or about)
    informal
    • Make (something) seem more important than it actually is.

      ‘Meadows made a big thing of paying the bill’
      • ‘And, of course, my friends across the aisle have made a big thing about that.’
      • ‘I think they are probably looking for something to make a thing about.’
      • ‘The news is making a big thing of it because he's gay.’
      • ‘Should I just let it slide, or make a big thing of it?’
      • ‘My mother did not make a big thing of it, but it was impossible to ignore.’
    one thing leads to another
    • Used to suggest that the exact sequence of events is too obvious to need recounting.

      ‘he offered me a lift home one night and one thing led to another’
      • ‘And one thing leads to another and then pretty soon, both people are in this violent dilemma.’
      • ‘Anyway it's also fun to see how one thing leads to another.’
      • ‘But one thing leads to another, as smokers, dieters and alcoholics all know only too well.’
      • ‘And one thing leads to another and on and on it goes.’
      • ‘Like so many things in life, one thing leads to another.’
    of all things
    • Out of all conceivable possibilities (used to express surprise)

      ‘What had he been thinking about? A kitten, of all things!’
      • ‘The bizarre thing about the unsavoury incident was that the irate individual was himself, of all things, a referee.’
      • ‘He went to London University for a degree in, of all things, theology.’
      • ‘I drove, of all things, an Alfa diesel, and it was a glorious experience.’
      • ‘They both studied, of all things, Portuguese literature and translation.’
      • ‘Our only used bookstore has gone, to be replaced by a pawnshop, of all things.’
      • ‘He spent a few years in England in industry making, of all things, vials for medicines.’
      • ‘She was shocked that someone had been as cruel as to shoot the duck and, of all things, with a crossbow.’
      • ‘Well the government, of all things, has called for expressions of interest just recently.’
      • ‘The company blamed its dismal performance on, of all things, Valentine's Day falling on a Friday.’
      • ‘I sat back and watched as the two of them fought each other for a picture, of all things.’
    there is only one thing for it
    • There is only one possible course of action.

      ‘there was only one thing for it—she would have to open the parcel’
      • ‘There's only one thing for it: I'll have to buy it another.’
      • ‘There was only one thing for it: throw them out of the window.’
      • ‘Following acupuncture, hypnotherapy and support groups, there's only one thing for it: therapy.’
      • ‘There was only one thing for it: a complete personality transplant.’
      • ‘The dog-loving double act decided there was only one thing for it.’
      • ‘If there's water blocking your way there's only one thing for it: you've got to swim.’
      • ‘There's only one thing for it if you're a student.’
      • ‘There is only one thing for it: I will fast till tea time, and do sit-ups on the hour.’
      • ‘There's only one thing for it, thought the messenger.’
      • ‘And I definitely didn't want my Mom asking him anymore questions, so there was only one thing for it.’
    a thing of the past
    • A thing that no longer happens or exists.

      ‘house-price booms were seen as a thing of the past’
      • ‘The guide suggests that Britain is now a truly united kingdom with the north-south divide a thing of the past.’
      • ‘The habit of walking children to school is mostly a thing of the past.’
      • ‘But for one group of tots, such light-hearted activity could be a thing of the past.’
      • ‘Dressing up for a meeting with your accountant may soon be a thing of the past.’
      • ‘Actually, in some parts of the world this is becoming a thing of the past.’
    (now) there's a thing
    informal
    • Used as an expression of surprise.

      • ‘Now, there's a thing: ‘a persistent irritating critic; a nuisance.’’
      • ‘‘Well, there's a thing,’ she said to no one in particular.’
      • ‘Now there's a thing: nice to see that no matter what happens, politicians still stay the same.’
      • ‘‘Well,’ he murmured instead, gazing down at Brandark's relaxed face and listening to his even, sleeping breath, ‘now there's a thing!’’
      • ‘In my defence, I see the beautiful countryside every day, I am spoilt with green hills but real shops, now there's a thing I rarely get to see in this paradise.’
      • ‘Now there's a thing I'd not thought myself likely to be missing!’
    a thing or two
    informal
    • Used to refer to useful information that can be imparted or learned.

      ‘Teddy taught me a thing or two about wine’
      • ‘My brother taught me a thing or two, the rest I learnt from magazines and tapes.’
      • ‘It is rich in culture and scenery and could teach us Irish a thing or two about how we care for our environment.’
      • ‘Our children may only be starting out on life's learning curve, but they could teach us a thing or two.’
      • ‘He was older and had been with a few women older than himself who had taught him a thing or two.’
      • ‘Katy was more than grateful to her mother for teaching her a thing or two about first aid.’
      • ‘Perhaps the Wiltshire trusts could learn a thing or two from that!’
      • ‘However, having served 12 years in the Royal Navy, Richard knew a thing or two about spit and polish.’
      • ‘Now that's where we could show those other countries a thing or two.’
      • ‘With adventures like these, you are going to have a great time and learn a thing or two.’
      • ‘As he grew up, though, he discovered a thing or two that made him change his mind.’
    things that go bump in the night
    informal, humorous
    • Unexplained and frightening noises at night, regarded as being caused by ghosts.

      ‘the fear of long-legged beasties and things that go bump in the night’
      • ‘As a youngster I had a dreadful fear of ghost stories and things that go bump in the night.’
      • ‘Meanwhile, professional ghost-finders are set to launch a three-day festival in York dedicated to the things that go bump in the night.’
      • ‘You are thinking about things that go bump in the night and monsters under your bed and vampires peering at you through your window.’
      • ‘I have a fear of things that go bump in the night.’
      • ‘‘Only things that go bump in the night,’ Alexander said.’
      • ‘But what of the other things that go bump in the night?’
      • ‘It was an active search for things that go bump in the night in the castle-filled countrysides of Scotland and Ireland.’
      • ‘Don't get neurotic about things that go bump in the night!’
      • ‘If you're not afraid of the dark or things that go bump in the night you will at least have the nerve to make it through the audition.’
      • ‘He makes great use of silence and subtle sounds to remind us that the only thing scarier to a child than hearing the things that go bump in the night is not hearing them.’

Origin

Old English, of Germanic origin; related to German Ding. Early senses included ‘meeting’ and ‘matter, concern’ as well as ‘inanimate object’.

Pronunciation

thing

/θɪŋ/