they - definition and synonyms


Your browser doesn’t support HTML5 audio

They is used as the subject of a verb: They killed him.
In formal English they can also be used after the verb ‘to be’, especially before a relative clause: It is they who are telling lies.
  1. 1
    used for referring to a group of people or things that have already been mentioned or that are already known about

    I phoned her parents because I knew they were worried.

    It’s hard to choose. They’re all very nice.

     Synonyms and related words
  2. 2
    used instead of ‘he or she’, especially when you are referring back to a word such as ‘everyone’, ‘someone’, or ‘anyone’

    We should give everyone a chance to say what they think.

     Synonyms and related words
  3. 3
    used for referring to people in general
    they say/call/think etc:

    They used to call her ‘the Iron Lady’.

     Synonyms and related words
  4. 4
    used for referring to a government, an organization, or a group of people in authority

    They’re going to ban smoking in public places.

     Synonyms and related words
See also