Definition of pronoun in US English:



  • A word that can function by itself as a noun phrase and that refers either to the participants in the discourse (e.g., I, you) or to someone or something mentioned elsewhere in the discourse (e.g., she, it, this).

    • ‘Things are even clearer with the object pronoun in the third person singular.’
    • ‘Can you have a pronoun in the main clause coming earlier than an antecedent in a subordinate clause?’
    • ‘Some of the most common difficulties that their students have learning Bulgarian are pronouns, verbs and word order.’
    • ‘Nahuatl once had an extensive system of honorifics, which affected not only the choice of pronouns, but also the forms of verbs, nouns, and pronouns.’
    • ‘A three-year-old can imitate adults and playmates, play make-believe with dolls and use pronouns or plural words.’
    • ‘I've always wondered why we use a plural pronoun to refer to a third, rather nebulous, individual.’
    • ‘You couldn't get a noun and a pronoun and an adverb out in that time.’
    • ‘The asserted rule must be that a pronoun cannot refer to the noun portion of a possessive - but I've never heard of any such rule.’
    • ‘Note, by the way, that there is nothing necessarily illogical about using singular pronouns in such cases.’
    • ‘The agreement targets were verbs and two types of pronouns, produced in the course of a sentence-completion task.’
    • ‘Strawson's idea was that descriptions refer because their anaphoric pronouns do.’
    • ‘However, I've never seen a kid use the same pronoun in contiguous sentences to refer to different people.’
    • ‘In two studies in which readers' eye movements were recorded, we examined the processing of pronouns bound by universal quantifiers.’
    • ‘Languages also vary with respect to the grammatical functions a logophoric pronoun can perform.’
    • ‘Once the family has been explicitly mentioned, Lanchester can refer to them with pronouns, in particular the pronoun them.’
    • ‘Likewise, for the adjectives, determiners, and pronouns, we need to recognize both masculine and feminine forms.’
    • ‘Such words include pronouns, auxiliary verbs, conjunctions, and prepositions.’
    • ‘In English, conjunctions, determiners, interjections, particles, and pronouns are grammatical words.’
    • ‘At the moment I am trying to master 5 different tenses of verbs and also adverbs, pronouns and other vocabulary.’
    • ‘As seems to be the case in Malaysian, there is some equivocation about whether the borrowings are pronouns or just nouns.’


Late Middle English: from pro- ‘on behalf of’, + noun, suggested by French pronom, Latin pronomen (from pro- ‘for, in place of’ + nomen ‘name’).