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thing - definition and synonyms

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noun     thing pronunciation in British English
Word Forms
  1. 1
    [countable] an object, or an item. This word is used when you cannot or do not want to refer to the object or item in a more specific way

    What’s that thing over there on the table?

    I gave her a little thing for her birthday.

    It’s one of those gadget things, isn’t it?

    1. a.
      [countable] an object that you are not familiar with or do not know much about

      It’s a thing used for looking inside people’s ears.

    2. b.


      [plural] the objects that belong to a particular person or that are used for a particular purpose

      I’ll pack my things for the trip tomorrow.

    3. c.
      [countable] spoken used when you are angry, or used for referring to an object you do not like

      Turn that thing off and do your homework!

  2. 2
    [countable] an action, or an activity

    I have a lot of things to do today.

    I would have done the same thing in his situation.

    do the right thing:

    I gave back the money. Did I do the right thing?

  3. 3
    [countable] a situation, or an event

    A funny thing happened to me today.

    I think we should just forget the whole thing.

    kind/sort of thing:

    She doesn’t find that kind of thing funny.

    be onto a good thing (=in a good situation, job, arrangement etc):

    We’re onto a good thing working here.

    in all things:

    Above all else, you must be honest in all things.

    make a big thing out of something (=behave as if something is more important, serious, dangerous etc than it really is):

    Don’t make a big thing out of this – I just said I’d be late!

  4. 4
    [countable] [usually plural] a fact or a condition related to a particular situation, activity, person etc

    The first thing I want is a hot bath.

    If you could change three things about your job, what would they be?

    have/want things both ways (=avoid choosing between two different things):

    I’d like to live close to the beach and close to my office, but I can’t have things both ways.

    all good things come to an end/must pass:

    Our vacation was great, but all good things come to an end.

    1. a.
      [countable] used for referring to a particular aspect of a situation that you are making a comment about

      The thing I really like about Theresa is her sense of humour.

      the sad/weird/funny etc thing is:

      The sad thing is, she never loved him.

      it’s a good/bad thing that:

      It’s a good thing that you don’t need to work late.

    2. b.


      [plural] all of the aspects of a particular situation

      Try to see things from your wife’s perspective.

      all things considered:

      All things considered, I think you’ll be happier if you switch jobs.

      as things stand (=as they are):

      As things stand, it will be difficult to raise prices further.

      put things (=describe or show a situation in a particular way):

      The official government report puts things quite differently.

    3. c.


      [plural] used for talking about life in a general way

      The government hasn’t done much to change things in the countryside.

  5. 5
    [countable] an aspect of life

    I’ve become less concerned about material things.

    a thing of the past:

    His financial worries were a thing of the past.

  6. 6
    [countable] an idea, a comment, or a piece of information

    There are some interesting things in your report.

    I have a few things to say to you.

    If anyone asks you what I said, don’t say a thing.

    have things on your mind (=be thinking about them):

    I have a few things on my mind right now.

    the last thing on someone’s mind (=something that someone is not thinking about now):

    On holiday, work is the last thing on my mind.

  7. 7
    [countable] used for referring to other examples or details, especially when you cannot or do not want to refer to them in a more specific way

    What other things did he say to you?

    My parents send me money for food, rent, and other things.

    that kind/sort of thing:

    We spent the day swimming, playing on the beach, and that kind of thing.

    things like:

    I need to get a few things like milk, bread, and eggs.

  8. 8
    [countable] spoken a young person or animal that you like. This word is used for saying something nice to them or about them

    You poor thing, you cut your finger.

    Who’s that pretty young thing I saw you with yesterday?

  9. From our crowdsourced Open Dictionary
    X is a thing informal something is fashionable or popular

    Taking selfies is a thing now.

    The double-layered vest/waistcoat: when did this become a thing?

    Submitted by Boris Marchenko from Russian Federation on 23/12/2015
  10. From our crowdsourced Open Dictionary
    all things (followed by adjectives) everything

    Brighton has been a home for embracing all things weird and wonderful for years.

    Submitted by Boris Marchenko from Russian Federation on 10/11/2015
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to manipulate someone psychologically so that they begin to question their own perceptions and memories

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Dunning-Kruger effect

the phenomenon by which an incompetent person is too incompetent to understand his own incompetence

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