Definition of their in English:

their

possessive determiner

  • 1Belonging to or associated with the people or things previously mentioned or easily identified.

    ‘parents keen to help their children’
    • ‘The feedback we get from buyers is that people now have less and less time on their hands.’
    • ‘What they get up to in the privacy of their own kitchens is entirely their own business.’
    • ‘After their visit, the team decided to go back again to try to do more for the country.’
    • ‘All I can do is carry on giving my all for my club and let others make their minds up.’
    • ‘Gone are the days when he could read five books and file away their contents in his brain.’
    • ‘People spend a lot of time making sure their holiday is what they want and is good value.’
    • ‘In our society many are crying out to be understood but we fail to hear their voices.’
    • ‘If they win, they will just go on to the next bet and so on until they've lost all their money.’
    • ‘Problems came to a head on Friday when a can of spray paint was thrown at their front door.’
    • ‘People came out because they felt the power to change the world was in their own hands.’
    • ‘At times it was so cold that they could see their equipment frosting up in front of them.’
    • ‘The surprised look on their faces was a joy to see as I ushered them to the front door.’
    • ‘At the end of the day, he says, their defence teams just did not fight a very good case.’
    • ‘One group told me that they had been asked to provide their own brooms to sweep the stage.’
    • ‘Some veterans have chosen to deal with what they saw by closing it out of their minds.’
    • ‘It was a new form of game show and people were on the edge of their seats, even if it seemed trivial.’
    • ‘It would not bring their victim back to life and there would just be one more death to mourn.’
    • ‘It is ghastly for those who tried so hard to make the model work and who have now lost their jobs.’
    • ‘They all wanted to show their grief for the loss of a girl whose life touched so many.’
    • ‘They often feel less attachment to the city as a whole than to their own little corner of it.’
    • ‘You walk out of a bar in daylight, and you see people on their way to work, or jogging.’
    • ‘Nothing gets to me more than people who make a big song and dance about having their own way.’
    1. 1.1 Belonging to or associated with a person of unspecified sex.
      ‘she heard someone blow their nose loudly’
      • ‘I am once again reminded, how wrong it is to judge a person by the colour of their skin.’
      • ‘Anyone who wants to voice their displeasure over that lot has to do a lot of voicing.’
      • ‘Why would anyone for the sake of their ego want to change the structure of what is going on?’
      • ‘If your mum clicked with their mum then you would have a new friend whether you liked it or not!’
      • ‘Everybody goes to have a look before making up their own mind where they want to shop.’
      • ‘The winner with the most votes gets to spend an hour in the stocks for their humility.’
  • 2Used in titles.

    ‘a double portrait of Their Majesties’
    • ‘Their Majesties were welcomed by Her Majesty The Queen and His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh at the Grand Entrance to Buckingham Palace in London.’
    • ‘Their Royal Highnesses arrived shortly after 3.30pm and were introduced to several prominent Members of Parliament, local councillors and leaders.’
    • ‘We were privileged and delighted to receive Their Royal Highnesses The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall as official guests on Thursday 24 July.’

Usage

On the use of their in the singular to mean ‘his or her’, see they Do not confuse their and there: their is a possessive determiner, used for example in they all tried to hide their faces and said nothing, while there is an adverb of place or position, as in I took a trip up there last week, and is used in phrases such as there is/are: we are aware there are problems.

Origin

Middle English: from Old Norse their(r)a ‘of them’, genitive plural of the demonstrative sá; related to them and they.

Pronunciation

their

/ðɛː/