Definition of that in US English:



  • 1Used to identify a specific person or thing observed by the speaker.

    ‘that's his wife over there’
    • ‘That's my best friend over there behind the counter.’
    • ‘Who's that in the corner?’
    • ‘That's a hawk atop the big rock.’
    • ‘That's a nice necklace.’
    • ‘Hello, is that the police?’
    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’
      • ‘I like this better than that.’
      • ‘This one is bigger 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?’
    • ‘We were having a little understeer in the beginning and then we were working that out.’
    • ‘That's the sort of thing you paid your money to hear, and those are just two adjacent songs from one album.’
    • ‘We will be hearing a lot more about that as we move to the Committee stage of this bill.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Life is going good but I am sure you don't want to hear about that so on with the story!’
    • ‘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?’
    • ‘Some people look at his art as cute or fun, but those are surface observations.’
    • ‘Well, like anything it has its positive and negative points but we'll get to those in a bit.’
    • ‘There may have been other games, those are the only we heard about on the grapevine.’
    • ‘We get hundreds of those in the US, we get hundreds in Europe, we get a lot of them in China.’
  • 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 an undergrown man’
    ‘they care about the rights of those less privileged than themselves’
    • ‘His sharp features were those of a predator and his eyes regarded Tim with a calculating glint.’
    • ‘Thus, their amplitudes diminish with distance more slowly than do those of body waves.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The temperature measured in this way is representative of that of the growing zone.’
    • ‘If you are a beginner, as we all were at some point, ask and learn from those that have lifted for a while.’
    • ‘The underlying theme of the works is dreams, in particular those that have been lost.’
  • 4relative pronoun Used instead of “which,” “who,” “whom,” or “when” to introduce a defining or restrictive 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.’


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

    ‘look at that man 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’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘All we have are words, and with those words we want to inspire the patriotic heart that beats in all of us.’
    • ‘There were no more positive adjectives could fit into my life since that one was so strong.’
    • ‘Some of those issues raised have already been referred to the panel for decisions.’
    • ‘The judge heard those witnesses on more issues than were canvassed in this appeal.’
    • ‘You want to take another look at the game and in particular those incidents.’
    • ‘The right to give opinions does not extend to a right to have those opinions heard.’
    • ‘She couldn't say this was less significant than those incidents, because this was a new kind of pain too.’
    • ‘I think it is only necessary for me to refer to a very few of those cases.’
    • ‘At that time we made strong representations about the way the decision was made.’
    • ‘For reasons to which I have referred already I would reject each of those criticisms.’
    • ‘It is only in those cases that the cases are actually referred to the independent body.’
    • ‘If they want to hear those songs, they will get them but they'll also get my new solo songs.’
    • ‘The appeal from that decision was heard by an independent appeal panel of three members.’
    • ‘She couldn't remember where she'd heard that saying, but it seemed to be a good one.’
    • ‘Now if you can hear those words and not want to know the context, you're a better person than I.’
    • ‘For the purposes of this application it is only necessary to refer to some of those provisions.’
    • ‘Those who had heard those contents were said to have been white and shaking afterwards.’
    • ‘You can hear those guys from miles away and that's why there is such an outpouring of people.’
  • 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’
    • ‘The time is good for businessmen and those in the agriculture sector to embark on a new venture.’
    • ‘Police did not release the names of those involved as they asked not to be identified.’
    • ‘We have heard quite specifically that there will be further devolution for those that have not got it.’
    • ‘All those that we spoke to about this allegation had heard the story from someone else.’
    • ‘The evidence is there and we will continue to demand a fair hearing until those in power sit up and listen to the truth.’
    • ‘If they don't fall asleep themselves, then those observing them certainly would.’
    • ‘You never had a single advocate other than those paid for through legal aid.’
    • ‘No evidence was heard but I did give those present a chance to put their views forward.’
    • ‘There are those among us who will go anywhere to hear a revival of a musical.’
    • ‘The woman's head bobbed up and down at hearing our names, and those at the table looked on with open mouths.’
    • ‘His faculties are still with him as he still can see, hear and converse with those around him.’
    • ‘Attitudes are learnt through observation of those in relative power or seniority.’
    • ‘Among those on trial are his first wife, two children, a son-in-law and a cousin.’
    • ‘Yet all the major religions have very specific positive teaching on charity towards those in need.’
    • ‘We are looking for women who could work as signers for those with hearing impairments.’
    • ‘It's assured, beautiful and an immediate classic, according to those have heard it.’
    • ‘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 power of any empire, country or company comes from those at the bottom that support it.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘This is the seat that he lost in one of those beautiful moments from previous elections.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Since that last time, they have had an engineer out who sorted out the line noise.’
    • ‘No word yet on whether their own children will bunk off that Swiss finishing school or French lycée.’
    • ‘Had he been born with those strong muscles of his or had he somehow developed them when he was growing up?’
    • ‘The actress will reveal just what goes on inside that turbaned head!’
    • ‘If you don't have that defensive base, then you will find it hard to get results.’


  • 1as submodifier To such a degree; so.

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


  • 1Introducing a subordinate clause expressing a statement or hypothesis.

    ‘she said that she was satisfied’
    ‘it is possible that we have misunderstood’
    • ‘Our preconception that British television is the best in the world is simply not true.’
    • ‘My understanding is that there are a number of teaching and non-teaching jobs at risk.’
    • ‘When she tested it, she was distressed to see that those whom she sought were on her bed, not at camp.’
    • ‘The insurers have found that many suspect claims are dropped as soon as concerns are raised.’
    • ‘He added that there had never been any mention of miners being shifted to other pits.’
    • ‘He said what had surprised him was that many of those arrested had no previous convictions.’
    • ‘He may find that once he comes through this he will be stronger and his life may take a different turn.’
    • ‘This observer has to conclude that something is wrong with the clocks on the train.’
    • ‘He is expected to argue that there must instead be major reform to the law on recovering debt.’
    • ‘You understand that there's no way to test this to see if the signal is actually going out.’
    • ‘Someone observed that there is never any singing at the funeral of an atheist.’
    • ‘The fact that most of us stayed the distance is by far more to chance than skill.’
    • ‘It was argued that there must be read into this agreement an obligation on the publisher to act in good faith.’
    • ‘Then he heard that bigger prawns were to be found in Libya, and set out immediately.’
    • ‘Common sense would suggest that there ought to be a strong presumption in favour of the family.’
    • ‘If you have someone like her, the other dancers can see that there is somebody whom they can emulate.’
    • ‘It also means that stronger areas like Glasgow can help lift up less well organised areas.’
    • ‘My observation for this week is that there is nothing like a deadline to get the house tidy.’
    • ‘My observation is that only a small number of cars move from their spaces during the working day.’
    • ‘Villagers fear that future generations will not be able to make out the details.’
    1. 1.1 Expressing a reason or cause.
      ‘he seemed pleased that I wanted to continue’
      • ‘In his view the reason was that the suggestions were based on assumption rather than evidence.’
      • ‘One reason stars become stars is that they are highly talented and charismatic.’
      • ‘The first assumption is unproven for the simple reason that viewers are rarely given a chance.’
      • ‘The official reason given is that the facility needs to be closed for essential maintenance.’
      • ‘The reason they are not yet down is that, before any action can be taken, a legal process has to be followed.’
      • ‘I had my sword fencing class the next day, so that might be a reason to actually wake up.’
      • ‘The reason we gritted yesterday afternoon is that it is better to salt the roads before the snow falls.’
      • ‘The reason is that your state pension is taxable, but it is paid gross before tax is deducted.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The reason is that tomorrow Marky and I are off to America for two and half weeks.’
      • ‘The reason was that he was extremely musical and showed great talent for the violin.’
      • ‘The reason given is that this area already contains a high proportion of affordable housing.’
      • ‘The reason for this is that getting a phone line installed in this area can take up to two years.’
      • ‘One of the major reasons for this is that I have been upset by a number of occurrences.’
      • ‘One reason for the current Martian invasion is that the planet is currently so close to the Earth.’
      • ‘The reason is that he and his boss have taken on this new project and they work day and night on it.’
      • ‘Another reason is that we've lost rather a lot of faith in pension funds themselves over the years.’
      • ‘The reason could be that in the past I have taken a long time to score my runs.’
      • ‘The reason is that costs for the industry are going up and so are the financial pressures.’
    2. 1.2 Expressing a result.
      ‘she was so tired that she couldn't think’
      • ‘The result is that he resolves to return to his true calling: the writing of fiction.’
      • ‘The result is that anyone who hacks into the database does not see the grade of any individual student.’
      • ‘The result was that he had a home where he and his wife were happy and contented.’
      • ‘That gallery is not the only reason that Southwark and the Borough are booming.’
      • ‘The result is that you pay too much tax in the months before your birthday and too little in the months after.’
      • ‘The result is that more rainfall records are broken at this time of year than at any other.’
      • ‘It's all over and above contract, but the result is that kids here tend to be a bit more respectful.’
      • ‘It is for this reason that they despised death and even showed themselves superior to death.’
      • ‘Reports say the surge was so strong that parked cars were thrown around like toys.’
      • ‘The result is that the stone suffers from the adverse effects of weathering or decay.’
      • ‘The result is that it takes longer to adjust to a shock and requires a stronger policy response.’
      • ‘The result is that the two outer whorls are petals and the two inner ones are stamens.’
      • ‘It's for that reason that we decided to extend this opportunity to district farmers.’
      • ‘The result is that getting to the common functions and then being able to use them is quick and easy.’
      • ‘So these are some of the reasons that Americans get a bad press elsewhere in the world.’
      • ‘It is for this reason that I support the introduction of a law to ban them from public sale and public use.’
      • ‘The result is that the branched molecule is reduced to a form like a lopped tree.’
    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 those with plots at the graveyard will do a bit of cleaning up before the Mass.’
      • ‘We are hoping that the pier will be fully opened within two weeks but some of the rides may take longer to replace.’
      • ‘We hope that, come rain or shine, you'll be there to help make sure they're a success.’
      • ‘Let's hope that this huge international company keeps faith with the city of Rowntree.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The hope had been that their rivalry and competitive edge would ignite a spark between them.’
      • ‘He only hoped that he would do one in the near future and do some justice to the kids.’
      • ‘They quickly offer their apologies, and hope and pray that their careers are not ruined.’
      • ‘It is hoped that the visitor centre will be opened by the Queen before the Commonwealth Games.’
      • ‘We are hoping that things are going to proceed as we were told they would be.’
      • ‘Let's hope that it continues to provide more facilities to enrich the lives of young people.’
      • ‘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 club is hoping that this year will see more people than ever taking up tennis and joining the club.’
      • ‘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 a climbing club may be able to use the wall in the future.’
      • ‘Its purpose is to ensure that the public authorities closest to the citizens are consulted.’
      • ‘I just hope that it doesn't mean someone at home is going to die to keep the stats even.’
      • ‘I do hope that you will continue to give it the support it so rightly deserves.’
      • ‘We hope that everyone will find a place for the candle and the prayer card on their table.’
  • 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. That can also be dropped in a relative clause where it is the object of the clause, as in the book (that) I've just written. That, however, is obligatory when it is the subject of the relative clause, as in the company that employs Jack. It is sometimes argued that, in relative clauses, that should be used for nonhuman references and 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 both human and nonhuman references since at least the 11th century. In standard English, it is interchangeable with who in this context. 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 is that, in restrictive relative clauses, where the relative clause serves to define or restrict the reference to the particular one described, that is the preferred relative pronoun. However, in nonrestrictive relative clauses, where the relative clause serves only to give additional information, which must 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. For more details, see restrictive


  • 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 was not all that long ago’
      • ‘So you get the idea that it was not all that simple.’
      • ‘Perhaps, he was not all that serious about it after all!’
      • ‘All this seems plausible enough, but many would argue that the link between all this and fundamentalism and violence is not all that obvious.’
      • ‘First of all, I am not all that familiar with these ceremonial practices as I have never been involved in Indian religion.’
      • ‘Secondly, the alternatives are not all that great.’
      • ‘It doesn't help I'm not all that sure what I'm looking for.’
      • ‘Weather experts say that tornadoes in November are not all that rare.’
      • ‘To tell you the truth, it is not all that easy to become corrupt.’
      • ‘Ironically, providing universal access is not all that difficult.’
      • ‘Yes, and you know, if you go back with a stop watch, it's not all that long.’
  • 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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      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, I love your work and maybe I'll see you in San Diego next year.’
      • ‘All that said, the changes are much more sweeping than has been generally understood.’
      • ‘All that said, who could not feel more than a pang of nostalgia for the seventies when watching the documentary?’
      • ‘However, with that said, he's the fastest gun in the west and always wins a fight.’
      • ‘Although that said, this year it was just me and my sister battling with the tubs of old baubles.’
      • ‘Of course, that said, I would wholeheartedly support and help direct a gaming forum were it to be created.’
      • ‘With that said, check out the list, and be sure to take a look at our honourable mentions too.’
      • ‘All that said, the scenes which did stay more true to the novel were really funny and well done.’
      • ‘Ok, that said, I have to say I am thoroughly disappointed in the outcome of this election.’
      • ‘With that said, it makes you wonder why such development projects get the green light.’
      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.

      • ‘You can't just throw out your cigarettes one day, wipe your hands and say that's that.’
      • ‘When needed, the marines gather together enough battalions and brigades to form a division and that's that.’
      • ‘I'm just taking the lime they gave me, and that's that.’
      • ‘I have developed certain habits 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.’
      • ‘They do a blood test, say my thyroid's normal and that's that.’
      • ‘You bake them and you make a transfer, 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!’
      • ‘We're doing this because we were ordered to 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.

      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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!’
      • ‘I've had 19 years playing snooker and that will do me.’
      • ‘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'm happy to wait, because he has given me his word and that will do for me.’
      • ‘She stopped for a moment, but rediscovered her senses when he touched her hand, ‘I think that will do for now,’ he said softly.’


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