Definition of that in English:



Pronunciation /ðat/
  • 1Used to identify a specific person or thing observed or heard by the speaker.

    ‘that's his wife over there’
    ‘hello, is that Ben?’
    • ‘That's my best friend over there behind the counter.’
    • ‘That's a nice necklace.’
    • ‘Hello, is that the police?’
    • ‘That's a hawk atop the big rock.’
    • ‘Who's that in the corner?’
    1. 1.1 Referring to the more distant of two things near to the speaker (the other, if specified, being identified by ‘this’)
      ‘this is stronger than that’
      • ‘This one is bigger than that.’
      • ‘I like this better than that.’
  • 2Referring to a specific thing previously mentioned, known, or understood.

    ‘that's a good idea’
    ‘what are we going to do about that?’
    • ‘That's the sort of thing you paid your money to hear, and those are just two adjacent songs from one album.’
    • ‘We get hundreds of those in the US, we get hundreds in Europe, we get a lot of them in China.’
    • ‘As an aside, those are two of the toughest acts to nail down in the world of acoustic music these days.’
    • ‘It will be worth being at the gig just for the chance to hear some of that.’
    • ‘Ivy mentioned going with the flow; I realised that only recently?’
    • ‘Life is going good but I am sure you don't want to hear about that so on with the story!’
    • ‘Ask any woman what men keep in their sheds and they'd be bound to mention those.’
    • ‘So those are things that I observed and told myself that I could work more on.’
    • ‘Some people look at his art as cute or fun, but those are surface observations.’
    • ‘There may have been other games, those are the only we heard about on the grapevine.’
    • ‘We were having a little understeer in the beginning and then we were working that out.’
    • ‘We will be hearing a lot more about that as we move to the Committee stage of this bill.’
    • ‘Well, like anything it has its positive and negative points but we'll get to those in a bit.’
  • 3often with clause Used in singling out someone or something and ascribing a distinctive feature to them.

    ‘it is part of human nature to be attracted to that which is aesthetically pleasing’
    ‘his appearance was that of someone used to sleeping on the streets’
    • ‘If you are a beginner, as we all were at some point, ask and learn from those that have lifted for a while.’
    • ‘His sharp features were those of a predator and his eyes regarded Tim with a calculating glint.’
    • ‘Officers have to search for volunteers with similar features to those of the suspect.’
    • ‘The steps which are imperative are those that would wipe out the disease completely.’
    • ‘Thus, their amplitudes diminish with distance more slowly than do those of body waves.’
    • ‘The underlying theme of the works is dreams, in particular those that have been lost.’
    • ‘The temperature measured in this way is representative of that of the growing zone.’
  • 4British informal Expressing strong agreement with a description just given.

    ‘‘He's a fussy man.’ ‘He is that.’’
  • 5relative pronoun Used instead of ‘which’, ‘who’, ‘whom’, or ‘when’ to introduce a defining clause, especially one essential to identification.

    ‘the woman that owns the place’
    ‘the book that I've just written’
    ‘the year that Anna was born’
    • ‘We all hear about things that go on and generally it is the same people involved over and over.’
    • ‘After a few hours of working in silence I heard a sound that immediately awoke my mind.’


Pronunciation /ðat/
  • 1Used to identify a specific person or thing observed or heard by the speaker.

    ‘look at that chap there’
    ‘how much are those brushes?’
    • ‘Next time you're looking at those pretty penguins, make sure you keep your distance.’
    • ‘All I could hear were the birds, a stream and the distant sounds of those sheep.’
    • ‘Every single one of those hornets is frenziedly furious and you're the cause of their ire.’
    1. 1.1 Referring to the more distant of two things near to the speaker (the other, if specified, being identified by ‘this’).
  • 2Referring to a specific thing previously mentioned, known, or understood.

    ‘he lived in Mysore at that time’
    ‘seven people died in that incident’
    • ‘There were no more positive adjectives could fit into my life since that one was so strong.’
    • ‘Those who had heard those contents were said to have been white and shaking afterwards.’
    • ‘Some of those issues raised have already been referred to the panel for decisions.’
    • ‘She couldn't remember where she'd heard that saying, but it seemed to be a good one.’
    • ‘He should progress both with age and distance and those two wins last summer have left a lasting memory.’
    • ‘You'll know that only one of those two groups mentioned Glasgow in their lyrics.’
    • ‘You can hear those guys from miles away and that's why there is such an outpouring of people.’
    • ‘I think it is only necessary for me to refer to a very few of those cases.’
    • ‘All we have are words, and with those words we want to inspire the patriotic heart that beats in all of us.’
    • ‘It is only in those cases that the cases are actually referred to the independent body.’
    • ‘The right to give opinions does not extend to a right to have those opinions heard.’
    • ‘The appeal from that decision was heard by an independent appeal panel of three members.’
    • ‘If they want to hear those songs, they will get them but they'll also get my new solo songs.’
    • ‘For reasons to which I have referred already I would reject each of those criticisms.’
    • ‘At that time we made strong representations about the way the decision was made.’
    • ‘She couldn't say this was less significant than those incidents, because this was a new kind of pain too.’
    • ‘You want to take another look at the game and in particular those incidents.’
    • ‘For the purposes of this application it is only necessary to refer to some of those provisions.’
    • ‘Now if you can hear those words and not want to know the context, you're a better person than I.’
    • ‘The judge heard those witnesses on more issues than were canvassed in this appeal.’
  • 3usually with clause Used in singling out someone or something and ascribing a distinctive feature to them.

    ‘I have always envied those people who make their own bread’
    • ‘All those that we spoke to about this allegation had heard the story from someone else.’
    • ‘His faculties are still with him as he still can see, hear and converse with those around him.’
    • ‘If they don't fall asleep themselves, then those observing them certainly would.’
    • ‘The power of any empire, country or company comes from those at the bottom that support it.’
    • ‘The evidence is there and we will continue to demand a fair hearing until those in power sit up and listen to the truth.’
    • ‘Attitudes are learnt through observation of those in relative power or seniority.’
    • ‘You never had a single advocate other than those paid for through legal aid.’
    • ‘Yet all the major religions have very specific positive teaching on charity towards those in need.’
    • ‘It's assured, beautiful and an immediate classic, according to those have heard it.’
    • ‘Among those on trial are his first wife, two children, a son-in-law and a cousin.’
    • ‘We have heard quite specifically that there will be further devolution for those that have not got it.’
    • ‘There are those among us who will go anywhere to hear a revival of a musical.’
    • ‘No evidence was heard but I did give those present a chance to put their views forward.’
    • ‘The woman's head bobbed up and down at hearing our names, and those at the table looked on with open mouths.’
    • ‘Alice said that both Ken and his wife Peggy were always willing to give a hand to those in need.’
    • ‘Everyone in town knew her name, and all the men, even those with wives of their own, fell in love with her.’
    • ‘The time is good for businessmen and those in the agriculture sector to embark on a new venture.’
    • ‘We are looking for women who could work as signers for those with hearing impairments.’
    • ‘Police did not release the names of those involved as they asked not to be identified.’
    • ‘The conversion was a formality in line with much of that which had gone before.’
  • 4Referring to a specific person or thing assumed as understood or familiar to the person being addressed.

    ‘where is that son of yours?’
    ‘I let him spend all that money on me’
    ‘Dad got that hunted look’
    • ‘With Rangers so many points behind it maybe lacked that cutting edge for their supporters.’
    • ‘Had he been born with those strong muscles of his or had he somehow developed them when he was growing up?’
    • ‘This is the seat that he lost in one of those beautiful moments from previous elections.’
    • ‘No word yet on whether their own children will bunk off that Swiss finishing school or French lycée.’
    • ‘She could feel those strong hands shifting her body so that she was facing him.’
    • ‘Christmas is a licence to kick back, shrug off that British reserve and enjoy ourselves.’
    • ‘His parting words echoed through her mind as she replayed that last scene by the car.’
    • ‘He was that rare bird, a significant figure in two fields, both art and science.’
    • ‘You know that last two inches, and the tomato sauce then drips off your lip onto your lovely white shirt.’
    • ‘Since that last time, they have had an engineer out who sorted out the line noise.’
    • ‘If you don't have that defensive base, then you will find it hard to get results.’
    • ‘The actress will reveal just what goes on inside that turbaned head!’


Pronunciation /ðat/
  • 1as submodifier To such a degree; so.

    ‘I wouldn't go that far’
    • ‘Over the last week Katharine and I would have done anything to hear snoring that loud again.’
    • ‘He does not even think he is that much better in the saddle than previously.’
    1. 1.1 Used with a gesture to indicate size.
      ‘it was that big, perhaps even bigger’
    2. 1.2informal Very.
      ‘I couldn't get out of the house fast enough, I was that embarrassed!’


Pronunciation /ðat//ðət//ðat/
  • 1Introducing a subordinate clause expressing a statement or hypothesis.

    ‘she said that she was satisfied’
    ‘it is possible that we have misunderstood’
    • ‘He may find that once he comes through this he will be stronger and his life may take a different turn.’
    • ‘Common sense would suggest that there ought to be a strong presumption in favour of the family.’
    • ‘Our preconception that British television is the best in the world is simply not true.’
    • ‘It also means that stronger areas like Glasgow can help lift up less well organised areas.’
    • ‘When she tested it, she was distressed to see that those whom she sought were on her bed, not at camp.’
    • ‘He added that there had never been any mention of miners being shifted to other pits.’
    • ‘If you have someone like her, the other dancers can see that there is somebody whom they can emulate.’
    • ‘Villagers fear that future generations will not be able to make out the details.’
    • ‘This observer has to conclude that something is wrong with the clocks on the train.’
    • ‘My observation is that only a small number of cars move from their spaces during the working day.’
    • ‘You understand that there's no way to test this to see if the signal is actually going out.’
    • ‘It was argued that there must be read into this agreement an obligation on the publisher to act in good faith.’
    • ‘My understanding is that there are a number of teaching and non-teaching jobs at risk.’
    • ‘He said what had surprised him was that many of those arrested had no previous convictions.’
    • ‘The fact that most of us stayed the distance is by far more to chance than skill.’
    • ‘My observation for this week is that there is nothing like a deadline to get the house tidy.’
    • ‘He is expected to argue that there must instead be major reform to the law on recovering debt.’
    • ‘Then he heard that bigger prawns were to be found in Libya, and set out immediately.’
    • ‘The insurers have found that many suspect claims are dropped as soon as concerns are raised.’
    • ‘Someone observed that there is never any singing at the funeral of an atheist.’
    1. 1.1 Expressing a reason or cause.
      ‘he seemed pleased that I wanted to continue’
      • ‘Another reason is that we've lost rather a lot of faith in pension funds themselves over the years.’
      • ‘The reason is that tomorrow Marky and I are off to America for two and half weeks.’
      • ‘The reason could be that in the past I have taken a long time to score my runs.’
      • ‘The reason given is that this area already contains a high proportion of affordable housing.’
      • ‘The reason we gritted yesterday afternoon is that it is better to salt the roads before the snow falls.’
      • ‘The first assumption is unproven for the simple reason that viewers are rarely given a chance.’
      • ‘In his view the reason was that the suggestions were based on assumption rather than evidence.’
      • ‘One of the major reasons for this is that I have been upset by a number of occurrences.’
      • ‘I had my sword fencing class the next day, so that might be a reason to actually wake up.’
      • ‘One reason stars become stars is that they are highly talented and charismatic.’
      • ‘The reason they are not yet down is that, before any action can be taken, a legal process has to be followed.’
      • ‘The official reason given is that the facility needs to be closed for essential maintenance.’
      • ‘The reason is that costs for the industry are going up and so are the financial pressures.’
      • ‘One reason for the current Martian invasion is that the planet is currently so close to the Earth.’
      • ‘The reason was that he was extremely musical and showed great talent for the violin.’
      • ‘The reason for this is that getting a phone line installed in this area can take up to two years.’
      • ‘The reason is that your state pension is taxable, but it is paid gross before tax is deducted.’
      • ‘The reason is that he and his boss have taken on this new project and they work day and night on it.’
      • ‘That is for the simple reason that the leader has not given them a strategy to split over.’
      • ‘My second reason is that this point has come to the fore very late in the day.’
    2. 1.2 Expressing a result.
      ‘she was so tired that she couldn't think’
      • ‘The result is that you pay too much tax in the months before your birthday and too little in the months after.’
      • ‘It is for this reason that they despised death and even showed themselves superior to death.’
      • ‘That gallery is not the only reason that Southwark and the Borough are booming.’
      • ‘The result is that the two outer whorls are petals and the two inner ones are stamens.’
      • ‘The result is that anyone who hacks into the database does not see the grade of any individual student.’
      • ‘The result is that he resolves to return to his true calling: the writing of fiction.’
      • ‘The result is that getting to the common functions and then being able to use them is quick and easy.’
      • ‘Reports say the surge was so strong that parked cars were thrown around like toys.’
      • ‘It's for that reason that we decided to extend this opportunity to district farmers.’
      • ‘The result was that he had a home where he and his wife were happy and contented.’
      • ‘The result is that the stone suffers from the adverse effects of weathering or decay.’
      • ‘So these are some of the reasons that Americans get a bad press elsewhere in the world.’
      • ‘It's all over and above contract, but the result is that kids here tend to be a bit more respectful.’
      • ‘The result is that more rainfall records are broken at this time of year than at any other.’
      • ‘The result is that it takes longer to adjust to a shock and requires a stronger policy response.’
      • ‘The result is that the branched molecule is reduced to a form like a lopped tree.’
      • ‘It is for this reason that I support the introduction of a law to ban them from public sale and public use.’
    3. 1.3usually with modal Expressing a purpose, hope, or intention.
      ‘we pray that the coming year may be a year of peace’
      ‘I eat that I may live’
      • ‘It is hoped that some of the employees already made redundant will be re-employed.’
      • ‘We can only hope and pray that all troops are indeed home by Christmas.’
      • ‘We hope that everyone will find a place for the candle and the prayer card on their table.’
      • ‘I'm sure many of you knew her well, and can only hope that the joy she gave freely to all is some solace to each of us now.’
      • ‘It is hoped that those with plots at the graveyard will do a bit of cleaning up before the Mass.’
      • ‘He only hoped that he would do one in the near future and do some justice to the kids.’
      • ‘We are hoping that the pier will be fully opened within two weeks but some of the rides may take longer to replace.’
      • ‘The club is hoping that this year will see more people than ever taking up tennis and joining the club.’
      • ‘I do hope that you will continue to give it the support it so rightly deserves.’
      • ‘Just once before I go I hope that I catch her on a good day on the train, rather than always in the lift.’
      • ‘The hope had been that their rivalry and competitive edge would ignite a spark between them.’
      • ‘They quickly offer their apologies, and hope and pray that their careers are not ruined.’
      • ‘Let's hope that this huge international company keeps faith with the city of Rowntree.’
      • ‘It is hoped that the visitor centre will be opened by the Queen before the Commonwealth Games.’
      • ‘We hope that, come rain or shine, you'll be there to help make sure they're a success.’
      • ‘Its purpose is to ensure that the public authorities closest to the citizens are consulted.’
      • ‘It is hoped that a climbing club may be able to use the wall in the future.’
      • ‘We are hoping that things are going to proceed as we were told they would be.’
      • ‘I just hope that it doesn't mean someone at home is going to die to keep the stats even.’
      • ‘Let's hope that it continues to provide more facilities to enrich the lives of young people.’
  • 2literary usually with modal Expressing a wish or regret.

    ‘oh that he could be restored to health’


The word that can be omitted in standard English where it introduces a subordinate clause, as in she said (that) she was satisfied. It can also be dropped in a relative clause where the subject of the subordinate clause is not the same as the subject of the main clause, as in the book (that) I've just written (‘the book’ and ‘I’ are two different subjects). Where the subject of the subordinate clause and the main clause are the same, use of the word that is obligatory, as in the woman that owns the place (‘the woman’ is the subject of both clauses). It is sometimes argued that, in relative clauses, that should be used for non-human references, while who should be used for human references: a house that overlooks the park but the woman who lives next door. In practice, while it is true to say that who is restricted to human references, the function of that is flexible. It has been used for human and non-human references since at least the 11th century, and is invaluable where both a person and a thing is being referred to, as in a person or thing that is believed to bring bad luck. Is there any difference between the use of that and which in sentences such as any book that gets children reading is worth having, and any book which gets children reading is worth having? The general rule in British English is that, in restrictive relative clauses, where the relative clause serves to define or restrict the reference to the particular one described, which can replace that. However, in non-restrictive relative clauses, where the relative clause serves only to give additional information, that cannot be used: this book, which is set in the last century, is very popular with teenagers but not this book, that is set in the last century, is very popular with teenagers. In US English which is generally used only for non-restrictive relative clauses


  • and all that (or and that)

    • informal And that sort of thing; and so on.

      ‘other people depend on them for food and clothing and all that’
      • ‘Sure people say that protests and all that are ineffective.’
      • ‘My perception is that you really got into the protests and all that on that day when you tried to protect your mother and the film you had in your camera.’
  • be all that

    • informal Be very attractive or good.

      ‘He thinks he's all that—Yeah, God's gift’
  • like that

    • 1Of that nature or in that manner.

      ‘we need more people like that’
      ‘don't talk like that’
      • ‘I think she was being totally disrespectful and that it's not okay for her to talk to me like that.’
      • ‘If my mom was here she wouldn't let them talk to me like that, but since she isn't I have to deal with it.’
      like that, like this, in that way, in this way, in that manner, in this manner, in that fashion, in this fashion, so, like so
      View synonyms
    • 2With no preparation or introduction; instantly or effortlessly.

      ‘he can't just leave like that’
      • ‘It is an amazing thing, a man you have thought might be dead suddenly speaking to you just like that.’
      • ‘The statement was allowed to go just like that and no one even asked why the case was so.’
  • not all that —

    • Not very —

      ‘it wasn't all that long ago’
      • ‘Weather experts say that tornadoes in November are not all that rare.’
      • ‘So you get the idea that it was not all that simple.’
      • ‘Secondly, the alternatives are not all that great.’
      • ‘First of all, I am not all that familiar with these ceremonial practices as I have never been involved in Indian religion.’
      • ‘Yes, and you know, if you go back with a stop watch, it's not all that long.’
      • ‘All this seems plausible enough, but many would argue that the link between all this and fundamentalism and violence is not all that obvious.’
      • ‘Ironically, providing universal access is not all that difficult.’
      • ‘Perhaps, he was not all that serious about it after all!’
      • ‘To tell you the truth, it is not all that easy to become corrupt.’
      • ‘It doesn't help I'm not all that sure what I'm looking for.’
  • that is (or that is to say)

    • Used to introduce or follow a clarification, interpretation, or correction of something already said.

      ‘androcentric—that is to say, male-dominated—concepts’
      ‘He was a long-haired kid with freckles. Last time I saw him, that is’
      • ‘Recent web typography articles stress that good typography requires a vertical grid, that is to say a solid vertical rhythm achieved with a consistent, measured line-height.’
      • ‘He was a genius - that is to say, a man who does superlatively and without obvious effort something that most people cannot do by the uttermost exertion of their abilities.’
      namely, that is to say, that is, to wit, to be specific, specifically, in other words, to put it another way
      in other words, to put it another way, to rephrase it
      View synonyms
  • that said

    • Even so (introducing a concessive statement)

      ‘It's just a gimmick. That said, I'd love to do it’
      • ‘All that said, the scenes which did stay more true to the novel were really funny and well done.’
      • ‘All that said, who could not feel more than a pang of nostalgia for the seventies when watching the documentary?’
      • ‘With that said, check out the list, and be sure to take a look at our honourable mentions too.’
      • ‘All that said, the changes are much more sweeping than has been generally understood.’
      • ‘Of course, that said, I would wholeheartedly support and help direct a gaming forum were it to be created.’
      • ‘Although that said, this year it was just me and my sister battling with the tubs of old baubles.’
      • ‘Ok, that said, I have to say I am thoroughly disappointed in the outcome of this election.’
      • ‘All that said, I love your work and maybe I'll see you in San Diego next year.’
      • ‘With that said, it makes you wonder why such development projects get the green light.’
      • ‘However, with that said, he's the fastest gun in the west and always wins a fight.’
      in spite of everything, in spite of that, nonetheless, even so, however, but, still, yet, though, be that as it may, for all that, despite everything, despite that, after everything, having said that, that said, just the same, all the same, at the same time, in any event, come what may, at any rate, notwithstanding, regardless, anyway, anyhow
      View synonyms
  • that's that

    • There is nothing more to do or say about the matter.

      • ‘I'm just taking the lime they gave me, and that's that.’
      • ‘They want private accounts, big benefit cuts, and massive borrowing to finance the transition costs, and that's that.’
      • ‘To be perfectly honest to himself… he missed her and that's that.’
      • ‘We're doing this because we were ordered to and that's that!’
      • ‘I have known this gentleman for many years and have always accepted the fact that his success has come through sheer hard work - and that's that!’
      • ‘You bake them and you make a transfer, and that's that.’
      • ‘They do a blood test, say my thyroid's normal and that's that.’
      • ‘You can't just throw out your cigarettes one day, wipe your hands and say that's that.’
      • ‘I have developed certain habits and that's that.’
      • ‘When needed, the marines gather together enough battalions and brigades to form a division and that's that.’
  • — that was

    • As the specified person or thing was formerly known.

      ‘General Dunstaple had married Miss Hughes that was’
      • ‘The popular history of Chennai that was Madras is just over 350 years old.’
  • that will do

    • No more is needed or desirable.

      • ‘She stopped for a moment, but rediscovered her senses when he touched her hand, ‘I think that will do for now,’ he said softly.’
      • ‘He seems to think that as long as you pile on the songs, splatter the screen in bright colours and have lots of men with fluorescent white teeth gyrating with pretty women, that will do.’
      • ‘I've had 19 years playing snooker and that will do me.’
      • ‘I'm happy to wait, because he has given me his word and that will do for me.’
      • ‘Now, that will do; out you go with the lassie and have a look at the village; it may be a long while before you have a chance of seeing it again.’
      • ‘Listen to me Mac, two on the look-out posts, one guard and one criminal makes four, that will do!’
      • ‘We will look at a more precise definition of academic theology in the next chapter, but that will do for now to indicate the scope of the field.’


Old English thæt, nominative and accusative singular neuter of se ‘the’, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch dat and German das.