Definition of thing in English:

thing

noun

  • 1An object that one need not, cannot, or does not wish to give a specific name to.

    ‘look at that metal rail thing over there’
    ‘there are lots of things I'd like to buy’
    ‘she was wearing this pink thing’
    • ‘My suitcase contains many things but one thing you can be sure of is that I've probably not got enough pants.’
    • ‘Helen has the material things many would envy, but she is desperately trying to break free.’
    • ‘If you look at photos from way back, when you were a kid, the fashions date the thing.’
    • ‘If you had all the money you could wish for, name three things you would purchase.’
    • ‘The pink thing beside her is her G-string which she took out and decided not to wear back.’
    • ‘Everyone is opting for the thing that sells the easiest and requires the least amount of work.’
    • ‘Quite simply, the thing won't work without the base scanning the skies for missiles.’
    • ‘Yefu took only a few necessary things with him, including a cup, a mobile phone, and bedding.’
    • ‘Lia wished the thing he had given her would just vibrate; a feeling of unease rested in the pit of her stomach.’
    • ‘I did that thing that lots of blokes do when presented with a thing that has instructions.’
    • ‘Margalo looked them up and down for the thing she had required both of them to bring.’
    • ‘All in the name of testing new materials for things like planes and spacecraft.’
    • ‘He just wasn't into material things, but he did like to drink and get laid.’
    • ‘Didn't I say last night I would go to Croydon to spend a small fortune on things for my living room.’
    • ‘We went out to find some dinner and of course the only thing open was the chippie.’
    • ‘If this thing goes out again, it'll cost as much to repair it as it will to replace it.’
    • ‘Get an idea of prices by going to lots of shops that carry the kind of thing that interests you.’
    • ‘I put this thing on and looked in the mirror and it was like I had turned into a cartoon.’
    object, article, item, artefact, commodity
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1things Personal belongings or clothing.
      ‘she began to unpack her things’
      belongings, possessions, stuff, property, worldly goods, goods, personal effects, effects, paraphernalia, impedimenta, bits and pieces, bits and bobs
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2thingswith modifier Objects, equipment, or utensils used for a particular purpose.
      ‘they cleared away the last few lunch things’
      equipment, apparatus, gear, kit, tackle, stuff
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3a thingwith negative Anything (used for emphasis)
      ‘she couldn't find a thing to wear’
      • ‘They were absolutely not worried about a thing until I put on a robe and then Stellan screamed the house down.’
      • ‘They know exactly what they're doing and in that respect I don't have a thing to worry about.’
      • ‘He could pick and choose as he pleased and he wouldn't have to worry about a single damn thing.’
      • ‘She felt as if she could just get lost in his eyes forever and not ever have a thing to worry about.’
      • ‘I'll let them know what you have planned for us tonight, so don't worry about a thing.’
      • ‘We can't have anything like that, we've never done a thing like this before.’
    4. 1.4 Used to express one's disapproval of or contempt for something.
      ‘you won't find me smoking those filthy things’
    5. 1.5thingswith postpositive adjective All that can be described in the specified way.
      ‘his love for all things Italian’
      • ‘O'Hagan did not always have such seething contempt for all things Caledonian.’
      • ‘His fascination with all things Chopper also extends to the world wide web.’
      • ‘He seems to have developed a penchant for all things good, wholesome and American.’
    6. 1.6 Used euphemistically to refer to a man's penis.
  • 2An inanimate material object as distinct from a living sentient being.

    ‘I'm not a thing, not a work of art to be cherished’
    1. 2.1with adjective A living creature or plant.
      ‘the sea is the primal source of all living things on earth’
      • ‘The trees protected by this bill are among the oldest, tallest, and largest living things on earth.’
      • ‘Fossils are relics of living things that tell us something about the past.’
      • ‘We scooped up margarine tubs full of pond water and saw a host of living things in our little container.’
      • ‘It sets out to establish an equilibrium in the use of carbon, the material of living things.’
      • ‘I know that I will continue to be amazed and absorbed by the mystery of living things.’
      • ‘Living things search for their own fuel, and at times have to regulate their own temperatures.’
      • ‘This consideration must surely tell us that all living things were not made for man.’
      • ‘Lead is toxic to every living thing and adversely affects every system in the body.’
      • ‘It must take a heartless person to even be able to carry out experiments on any living thing.’
      • ‘Now, obviously, the presence of living things on Earth runs counter to this rule.’
      • ‘Any living thing which brought life and movement to stir the sullen stillness of it all would be silenced.’
      • ‘Property should only be destroyed if no living thing is going to be hurt.’
      • ‘The creation story in Genesis established an account for the origin of living things.’
      • ‘DNA is the common thread that links every living thing with a single primeval ancestor.’
      • ‘Nothing grew on its land, and no living thing was reared in its sheds and barns.’
      • ‘I want you to save the righteous people and two of every kind of living thing on the earth.’
      • ‘My family raised me to believe that not only humans but all living beings and natural things deserve respect.’
      • ‘Clearly all living things need to consume in order to stay alive, and humans are no exception.’
      • ‘It is our sense of interconnection with all living things that brings us to respect the rights of animals.’
      • ‘There isn't a living thing which doesn't alter its natural environment in some way.’
    2. 2.2with adjective Used to express and give a reason for one's pity, affection, approval, or contempt for a person or animal.
      ‘have a nice weekend in the country, you lucky thing!’
      ‘the lamb was a puny little thing’
      person, soul, creature, wretch
      View synonyms
  • 3An action, activity, event, thought, or utterance.

    ‘she said the first thing that came into her head’
    ‘the only thing I could do well was cook’
    • ‘On the way back the worst thing possible that could happen in a car happened.’
    • ‘Born of all the distress of that situation came the one thing that I was truly unprepared for.’
    • ‘The frigid old crone who taught us made copulation seem like the most boring thing possible.’
    • ‘You should thus try to convince your husband that such a thing is not socially acceptable.’
    • ‘They are convinced they did the right thing in reporting the activities of the two youths.’
    • ‘This sort of thing happened quite often when Nathaniel was given a shock.’
    • ‘He said it was very difficult not being able to work and doing the same thing day after day.’
    • ‘Blowing the whistle on any illegal or unethical activities is the right thing to do.’
    • ‘Get out of the armchair, do things you enjoy and things you think will make a difference.’
    • ‘Yes, he had to go and in going he did the last honourable thing open to him.’
    • ‘I don't enjoy shopping but wandering a mall with Wendy and Mark can be a fun thing.’
    • ‘The most important thing management can do is to stay in touch with the people who do the real work in the company.’
    • ‘If there is one thing referee Michael Jones doesn't do, it's play to the crowd.’
    • ‘The use of any part of any creature for this type of thing is quite unacceptable.’
    • ‘At the awards ceremony, the pair said they would do the same thing again if the situation arose.’
    • ‘There is one girl in my class who constantly says funny things which I wish I could remember later.’
    • ‘The only thing enterprises could do was mass produce, regardless of market feedback.’
    • ‘One minute a team is going great, then a couple of putts go in or stay out and the whole thing switches round the other way.’
    • ‘The British Championships are now half way through and so far have been quite a close run thing.’
    • ‘Say what you will, but I believe the majority of people would do the same thing in our situation.’
    activity
    thought, notion, idea, concept, conception
    remark, statement, comment, utterance, observation, declaration, pronouncement
    incident, episode, event, happening, occurrence, eventuality, phenomenon
    View synonyms
    1. 3.1things Circumstances, conditions, or matters that are unspecified.
      ‘things haven't gone entirely according to plan’
      ‘how are things with you?’
      • ‘It was doubtful, she knew, but nevertheless, she wished things had not ended the way they did.’
      • ‘We can try and come up with ways of making things better, no matter how tough that may be.’
      • ‘You hear a lot of longtime residents lament that they wish things were the way they used to be.’
      • ‘No matter how bad things get, you must never think that God does not exist.’
      • ‘There are times when I wish things were different, if only because the people deserve better.’
      • ‘I remember we complained to one another at the time and thought how we wish things could change.’
      • ‘Many people no longer believe in our capacity to control events and change things for the better.’
      • ‘The kiss of love is the kiss of life and no matter how badly things have been going, it's the kiss that heals.’
      • ‘Challenge your beliefs about the bad things that might happen if you show your emotions.’
      • ‘It seems like the lesson here is to let things slide, no matter how painful things get.’
      • ‘The child also perceives that things are going well living with his grandmother.’
      • ‘I told Jacques to press this with all his might and not back down, no matter how dire things looked.’
      • ‘That is to say, he used it as an example of how bad things can get if we don't act soon enough.’
      • ‘The other alternative is to sit on the sidelines and wish that things were different.’
      • ‘We worked hard and we fought hard, and I wish that things had turned out a little differently.’
      • ‘I now realise that all is not lost, no matter how bad things get, all is never lost.’
      • ‘Not for one instant, no matter how tough things got, would I have quit a fight.’
      • ‘Even now, two years on, Smith struggles to describe exactly why things went so wrong.’
      • ‘The good thing about gallows humour is no matter how bad things get you can always find some wag ready to crack a joke.’
      • ‘But it's hard to tell this close to the event exactly how things are going to change.’
      matters, affairs, circumstances, conditions, relations
      View synonyms
    2. 3.2 An abstract entity, quality, or concept.
      ‘mourning and depression are not the same thing’
      ‘they had one thing in common—they were men of action’
      • ‘Of course, this is the type of thing that the media would be all over if it were a Republican.’
      • ‘What they fail to consider is the harsh reality that there is no such thing as a new morality.’
      • ‘He admits he has always tended to obsess over things, these obsessions being mostly musical.’
      • ‘In any case, if there is one thing Italians do not naturally embrace it is change.’
      • ‘Accept there's no such thing as the perfect partner but you can get pretty close.’
      • ‘The one thing patients want out of the inquiry is for lessons to be learned.’
      • ‘The only thing we had in common was that we were both appalled and shamed by the Waynes of this world.’
      • ‘The limits of our knowledge is one of the things that fascinates me most.’
      • ‘To pretend otherwise is not only an insult to those efforts but it also implies there is no such thing as social change.’
      • ‘The only thing they have in common are the double rather than single quotation marks around them.’
      • ‘There seemed to be no such thing as third time lucky for the Sliding Rock mine.’
      • ‘The question of his virtue is of course quite another thing altogether.’
      • ‘Yes, quality is the only thing that matters when we are talking about export education.’
      • ‘It is not at all necessary, though, that such a concept or such a thing exist.’
      • ‘If there's one thing life so far has taught me, it's that you can't hide from reality.’
      • ‘We realised how our hobby was the thing we had in common and the most important part of that was sharing.’
      • ‘As I walked through the cold steel passageways, every room I entered had the same thing in common.’
      • ‘We could easily end up in a situation where the only thing left is, in a sense, the shadow of a monarchy.’
      • ‘This is not the sort of thing where we require the law to protect us from ourselves.’
      • ‘A concept that has too many clothes may in the end be the same thing as a concept that has none.’
      characteristic, quality, attribute, property, trait, feature, point, aspect, facet, element
      fact, piece of information, point, detail, particular, factor
      View synonyms
    3. 3.3 An example or type of something.
      ‘the game is the latest thing in family fun’
      • ‘The bottom line is society hasn't opened up much to accept this kind of thing.’
      • ‘They are the kind of thing that lead us to react in ways which are far graver than the damage they do.’
      • ‘The young girl appeared oblivious to what he was up to; Martin guessed she did this sort of thing quite often.’
      • ‘There was a time when really this thing was not taken as seriously as it should have been.’
      • ‘I've never been a fan of that sort of thing but with fashion being what it is these days I let her have it done.’
    4. 3.4informal with adjective or noun modifier A situation or activity of a specified type or quality.
      ‘your being here is just a friendship thing, OK?’
      • ‘But there was almost a reluctance to do sculpture, because it was such a family thing.’
      • ‘It has always been a family thing—we used to drive out in a bike and side-car when our two sons were small.’
      • ‘Subman, who has a few years on me, went on and did the family thing, put on a few kilos, and gave up surfing.’
      • ‘The older son thing requires its own space, so the telling will be separate, if it happens.’
      • ‘I'm doing the premiere party thing tonight, so will have something to say about it tomorrow.’
      • ‘She was afraid because this modeling thing was a new situation so removed from her reality.’
      • ‘In the early days, punk was a Northern thing, and more specifically, a Manchester thing.’
      • ‘You can see the genuine affection there and it's not a showbiz couple thing.’
      matters, affairs, circumstances, conditions, relations
      View synonyms
    5. 3.5informal A romantic or sexual relationship.
      ‘Phil and Lisa had been having a thing’
      • ‘Danny loves Taylor, and Kylie has a thing with Sam.’
      • ‘Trevor had a thing with her sister and got her pregnant, so there's a big backstory there.’
      • ‘Husband had a thing with the babysitter, who then moves in with husband and child.’
      • ‘He and Jack finally have a thing going on and then he dies.’
      • ‘Rob's been having problems with his girlfriend and it's being said that the problem is because Rob and Kayleigh might be having a thing.’
      • ‘Asked about the rumoured relationship in an interview, she insisted: We've never had a thing.’
      • ‘OMG I didn't know he and Kirsten had a thing.’
      • ‘Julian had a thing with Shelby and Candace had a thing with an anonymous stranger.’
    6. 3.6informal An established or genuine phenomenon or practice (typically used in expressions registering surprise or incredulity)
      ‘according to media reports, sleep texting is now a thing among serious smartphone addicts’
      ‘he looks like he's wearing boxers underneath his trunks (is that a thing?)’
      • ‘Kind of sad that having a glucose-measuring device for your kids is a thing now, worthy of a feature.’
      • ‘Georgio, I can tell how old you are, because the kids today probably don't know that candy cigarettes were ever a thing.’
      • ‘He cries some more, since that is a thing this season.’
      • ‘Miller's sporting a string of very fashionable Fair Isle sweaters, so is that a thing now?’
      • ‘I'm not sure if anyone was trading butter for dessert, but bartering at restaurants is a thing.’
      • ‘If Heather's reading, we have a feeling her goal was hipster biker chic, but please know that is not now and will never be a thing.’
      • ‘Here are the 10 Dos and Don'ts of Facebook-stalking your crush, if that's still a thing now.’
      • ‘Add some pizazz to your pregnancy by body-painting your baby bump (seriously, this is a thing).’
      • ‘Winter white may work in November, but winter egg-shell blue is definitely not a thing.’
      • ‘Is it a thing now to throw Barbie dolls on stage during a concert?’
  • 4the thinginformal What is needed or required.

    ‘you need a tonic—and here's just the thing’
    1. 4.1 What is socially acceptable or fashionable.
      ‘it wouldn't be quite the thing to go to a royal garden party in boots’
      • ‘At the newcomer level, sketch shows seem quite the thing.’
      • ‘Apparently it's quite the thing to drop out of society for months and take to the rivers and byways.’
      • ‘Around the time of Michael and A Life Less Ordinary, angels were quite the thing.’
      fashionable, in fashion, in vogue, popular, all the rage
      View synonyms
  • 5one's thinginformal One's special interest or concern.

    ‘reading isn't my thing’
    what one likes, what interests one
    View synonyms
  • 6the thinginformal Used to introduce or emphasize an important point.

    ‘the thing is, I am going to sell this house’
    ‘here's the thing: this is a story, not a piece of hard news’
    ‘that's the thing about style—no two people are completely alike’
    • ‘As far as the Rove story, the thing is that Washington journalists are actually involved.’
    • ‘I hope not, but the thing is, I don't necessarily want to become a famous filmmaker.’
    • ‘And the thing is, China is trying to make Japan fess up to its brutal crimes of history.’
    • ‘But the thing is that players are remembered for their deeds on the pitch, not in the media.’
    • ‘But the thing is, students will google while they write whether they're forbidden to or not.’
    • ‘But the thing is, the rail network is not likely to make any more leaps and bounds if it keeps being shirky and apologetic.’
    • ‘But the thing is for all the DVDs in the world, what I really want is music - good music.’
    • ‘Yes, but the thing is, though, he said he wants to plea bargain so he gets out of the death penalty.’
    • ‘And the thing is, I'm not sure that the broadcasters ever said what sin the question actually referred to.’
    • ‘‘But the thing was, of course, you got your revenge when it came to your turn,’ he says with relish.’
    • ‘But the thing is, Prof Kaufmann has been through the old reports again recently.’
    • ‘Well, the thing was that I was busy Saturday, tired out Sunday, and feeling apathetic Monday.’
    • ‘And the thing is, just two days back I put through an insurance plan for myself.’
    • ‘And the thing is, he is not even good looking, rich, or whatever criteria makes guys popular!’
    • ‘I know I've said that I like winter, and cold weather, but the thing is, I like it in winter!’
    • ‘Yes, but the thing is that we have got to start preventing some of these diseases.’
    • ‘It was almost 20 years ago, and the thing was, it was introducing a revolutionary product.’
    • ‘But the thing is, a website is not a therapy session, and I lost a little discipline there for a bit.’
    • ‘And the thing is, the things they're scared of are not the same things that we're scared of.’
    • ‘You know, the thing was, Australia was really held to ransom there, as far as I'm concerned.’
    fact of the matter, fact, point, issue, problem
    View synonyms

Phrases

  • be all things to all men (or people)

    • 1Please everyone, typically by regularly altering one's behavior or opinions in order to conform to those of others.

      • ‘I believe that you cannot, at all times, try to be all things to all people.’
      • ‘And it may require the reallocation of some of our resources, and we're going to have to understand that we can't be all things to all people.’
      • ‘We do have an obligation, but we can't be all things to all people.’
      • ‘The government can't be all things to all people.’
      • ‘It was a superb attempt to be all things to all men that culminated in a result that made everyone happy.’
      • ‘Of course, just as SAC cannot be all things to all people, the cultural strategy will not please everyone or meet all needs.’
      • ‘The Liberals want to be all things to all people.’
      • ‘Simply put, like the Toronto event, it is expected to be all things to all people.’
      • ‘The ABC can never be all things to all people, but it can be the means by which different Australians talk to each other.’
      • ‘I'd like to just say that politicians would like to be all things to all people.’
      1. 1.1Be able to be interpreted or used differently by different people to their own satisfaction.
        • ‘You may not be able to be all things to all people, but when it comes to dairy packaging, the industry is sure trying.’
        • ‘The time is past for newspapers to be all things to all people.’
        • ‘‘Radio 1 tries to be all things to all people in terms of the music that it covers,’ Bryce argues.’
        • ‘‘You're asking a piece of wood to be all things to all people,’ he says.’
        • ‘These products would still use all the cool underlying Mozilla technology, but no longer would they try to be all things to all people, all at once.’
        • ‘Like all plans, it works for some and not for others - no plan can be all things to all people.’
        • ‘Unix doesn't have to be all things to all people to be a great system; I don't understand why its fans can't accept that.’
        • ‘It is trying to be all things to all people, while selling upmarket food.’
        • ‘A local paper cannot be all things to all people but what it can aim for is to have something to interest a range of people from different walks of life.’
        • ‘We decided to make the flower show element excellent rather than trying to be all things to all people.’
  • be onto a good thing

    • informal Have found a job, situation, or lifestyle that is pleasant, profitable, or easy.

      • ‘For his part, Mr Cowdery is convinced he is on to a good thing.’
      • ‘They took advantage of the new government's inexperience at the time and, knowing that it was their first project, knew they were on to a good thing and exploited the situation to the fullest.’
      • ‘It doesn't take long before people catch on to a good thing.’
      • ‘The duo knew they were on to a good thing when they first previewed at the Edinburgh Festival in 2002 to packed audiences.’
      • ‘So I feel that not enough is being done to persuade people to give up because the government know that they're on to a good thing with the tobacco trade.’
      • ‘He said: ‘If you are on to a good thing you stick with it.’’
      • ‘Standard Life Investments proved last week it knows when it is on to a good thing by launching a second European private equity fund which will undoubtedly be one of the largest and most significant launches by a Scottish house this year.’
      • ‘He has plenty to chew on, but that is not necessarily a bad thing: should it all fall into place, he could well be on to a good thing.’
      • ‘He said: ‘I reckoned that there was enough demand to set up a specialist company, and when my wife also agreed, then I knew we were on to a good thing.’’
      • ‘Those masters were on to a good thing, for a while.’
  • be hearing (or seeing) things

    • Imagine that one can hear (or see) something that is not in fact there.

      • ‘I stared at her and wondered if I was seeing things.’
      • ‘At first I thought I was hearing things or maybe it was crows or seagulls.’
      • ‘Approaching the bridge, we thought we were seeing things!’
      • ‘Mark shook his head once again, as if he were seeing things.’
      • ‘I was going to tell her she was hearing things and to go back to sleep when I heard the sound of breaking furniture below.’
      • ‘He blinked and then refocused, convinced he was seeing things.’
      • ‘At first Melissa had always said Leah was seeing things, now she knew Leah was telling the truth.’
      • ‘She is hearing things, imagining them, she knows she is.’
      • ‘I convinced myself that I was seeing things and kept walking.’
      • ‘She thought she was seeing things until another bolt of lightening lit up the room.’
  • a close (or near) thing

    • A narrow avoidance of something unpleasant.

      • ‘He managed to put out a hand to the wall just in time, but it was a near thing.’
      • ‘It was a close thing for me too, but I was young, and have a healthy heart and I lasted the whole half-hour of assault.’
      • ‘The Franks had had a near thing after the Field of Blood, but Tyre and Azaz had somewhat redressed the balance.’
      • ‘Theodosius also built a second set of walls around Constantinople (it had been a near thing with the Visigoths) and made Christianity the official religion of the Empire.’
      • ‘It was a near miss as far as I was concerned, a close thing.’
      • ‘That was a close thing and even more dramatic than the story as told here on Saturday.’
      • ‘It was a close thing, but he managed to miss the vein by a hair.’
      • ‘It was a near thing this time.’
  • do one's own thing

    • informal Follow one's own interests or inclinations regardless of others.

      • ‘People began to think about doing their own thing.’
      • ‘Though we did walk together as a group, everyone was virtually doing their own thing.’
      • ‘It's just a case of going out there and doing your own thing.’
      • ‘However, there are too many individuals doing their own thing.’
      • ‘It's just that everybody's doing their own thing.’
      • ‘That is what you have to create at a club, not 15 individuals doing their own thing.’
      • ‘The only way forward is for us all to work together; we can't have sport on one side and everyone else doing their own thing.’
      • ‘We were always independent, doing our own thing.’
      • ‘It's always welcome to find a band that are not following the crowd and really doing their own thing.’
      • ‘‘It was that teenage thing of doing your own thing as a student,’ Diana recalls.’
  • do the — thing

    • informal Engage in the kind of behavior typically associated with someone or something.

      ‘a film in which he does the bad-guy thing’
      • ‘Oh I'm definitely gonna do the sneakers thing, we're all doing it.’
      • ‘I don't do the whole meeting-the-parents thing.’
      • ‘He noticed she was a carrying a book or two and decided to do the gentlemen thing.’
      • ‘I resisted the temptation to do the charades thing that indicates it's a book.’
      • ‘While we're doing the media thing, might as well be time for a roundup.’
      • ‘Can we do the whole presentations thing tomorrow?’
      • ‘He is just doing the no drinking thing to keep me happy.’
      • ‘He got the crowd doing the waving arms thing.’
      • ‘I don't do the tests thing very often these days.’
      • ‘We watched a game, had a few beers, did the lads thing, and generally I had a ball.’
  • do things to

    • informal Have a powerful emotional effect on.

      ‘it just does things to me when we kiss’
      • ‘In other words, pop is conceived of as an aesthetic object which is contemplated and ‘enjoyed’ by a transcendent subject, not as something which has effects on a body, which does things to you.’
      • ‘Maybe it's this country that does things to us.’
      • ‘It's an amazing thing to raise a child - it does things to you.’
      • ‘Unforunately, the bravado of temporary office sometimes does things to people.’
      • ‘Apologies to my Portugese and Brazilian readers for confusing your beautiful language with the other one - it was the chocolate you know - it does things to my brain.’
      • ‘Inspiring, amazing, and proving that in an age where film, TV, novels and the internet dominate, a truly magical piece of theatre can still do things to your feelings and emotions that no other media can.’
  • for one thing

    • Used to introduce one of two or more possible reasons for something, the remainder of which may or may not be stated.

      ‘Why hadn't he arranged to see her at the house? For one thing, it would have been warmer’
      • ‘It's far too noisy, for one thing, plus we're all phenomenally busy, a fact that should delight upper management.’
      • ‘One cannot lament its influence, for one thing because to do so would be useless.’
      • ‘Class, for one thing, appears to have changed radically while the Queen remains.’
      • ‘Well, for one thing, writing a shocking story has been, historically, one way to bring yourself to public attention.’
      • ‘I think he wants to see how people are raising money in his wife's name, for one thing.’
      • ‘Well, for one thing, the cast of characters apparently has spread out all over the country.’
      • ‘Not that I was inclined to go round: for one thing, I had no idea what to say.’
      • ‘Well, for one thing, there's a self-defence issue here which may justify the use of lethal force by the police officer.’
      • ‘He flags his surprise endings far too far in advance, for one thing.’
      • ‘It's got him onto the health pages of the Telegraph, for one thing.’
  • have a thing about

    • informal Have an obsessive interest in or dislike of.

      ‘she had a thing about men who wore glasses’
      • ‘I've always had a thing about travelling light.’
      • ‘She's lovely although she has a thing about climbing.’
      • ‘Some people have a thing about their thighs, stomach or numerous chins.’
      • ‘And he had a thing about not looking directly at her.’
      • ‘‘Men have a thing about high heels,’ said sex shop manager Justin Parr.’
      • ‘I have a thing about sumptuously comfortable beds.’
      • ‘Macdonald has a thing about beaches; she can't say why, she just likes them.’
      • ‘He had a thing about redheads and he liked singers.’
      • ‘And, perhaps as a result, I've always had a thing about not eating too many sweets, although this never seemed to extend to alcohol.’
      • ‘For a brief period during my childhood I had a thing about boxing.’
      phobia, fear, horror, terror
      penchant for, preference for, taste for, inclination for, partiality for, predilection for, soft spot for, weakness for, fancy for, fondness for, liking for, love for, passion for
      View synonyms
  • have a thing for

    • informal Have a strong liking for.

      ‘I think he has a bit of a thing for you’
      • ‘He was a little miffed at Trevor's comment about him having a thing for Susie.’
      • ‘Dana had a thing for chocolate - or candy in general.’
      • ‘I think he has a bit of a thing for you.’
      • ‘She's the young hotshot of the woman's tennis circuit and she seems to have a thing for Peter.’
      • ‘She and I have a thing for the movies and never miss the opening night of anything.’
      • ‘He has a thing for annoying me though.’
      • ‘When we last left our heroes, Rachel had just found out that Ross has long had a thing for her.’
      • ‘People will think I really do have a thing for meteorites.’
      • ‘He's talk, dark and handsome and has a thing for British beauties.’
      • ‘She apparently had a thing for smart guys.’
      phobia, fear, horror, terror
      penchant for, preference for, taste for, inclination for, partiality for, predilection for, soft spot for, weakness for, fancy for, fondness for, liking for, love for, passion for
      View synonyms
  • — is one thing, — is another

    • Used to indicate that the second item mentioned is much more serious or important than the first, and cannot be compared to it.

      ‘physical attraction was one thing, love was quite another’
  • make a (big) thing of (or about)

    • informal Make (something) seem more important than it actually is.

      • ‘I think they are probably looking for something to make a thing about.’
      • ‘And, of course, my friends across the aisle have made a big thing about that.’
      • ‘The news is making a big thing of it because he's gay.’
      • ‘My mother did not make a big thing of it, but it was impossible to ignore.’
      • ‘Should I just let it slide, or make a big thing of it?’
  • of all things

    • Out of all conceivable possibilities (used to express surprise)

      ‘What had he been thinking about? A kitten, of all things!’
      • ‘The bizarre thing about the unsavoury incident was that the irate individual was himself, of all things, a referee.’
      • ‘I sat back and watched as the two of them fought each other for a picture, of all things.’
      • ‘I drove, of all things, an Alfa diesel, and it was a glorious experience.’
      • ‘Our only used bookstore has gone, to be replaced by a pawnshop, of all things.’
      • ‘They both studied, of all things, Portuguese literature and translation.’
      • ‘He spent a few years in England in industry making, of all things, vials for medicines.’
      • ‘The company blamed its dismal performance on, of all things, Valentine's Day falling on a Friday.’
      • ‘Well the government, of all things, has called for expressions of interest just recently.’
      • ‘She was shocked that someone had been as cruel as to shoot the duck and, of all things, with a crossbow.’
      • ‘He went to London University for a degree in, of all things, theology.’
  • (just) one of those things

    • informal Used to indicate that one wishes to pass over an unfortunate event or experience by regarding it as unavoidable or to be accepted.

      • ‘If cycling is one way to sort out York's traffic problems, how come the frequent theft of bikes is brushed off as one of those things?’
      • ‘We were in the lead at the time, but it was one of those things.’
      • ‘It is just one of those things you have to accept.’
      • ‘Sometimes I just chalk it down to one of those things and try and move on with my life.’
      • ‘If I have to move on and the money could be used to help the club relocate then it's one of those things.’
      • ‘‘It was nobody's fault what happened in Turkey, it was just one of those things,’ added Alan.’
      • ‘Unfortunately, is hasn't and it's just one of those things.’
      • ‘‘It's just one of those things,’ said founder member Beatrice Brown.’
      • ‘He said: ‘There were no outward physical signs that the tree was rotten and going to come down, it was just one of those things.’’
      • ‘‘What has happened is just one of those things and is not the club's fault but I am still very sad about it,’ said Hamilton.’
  • one thing after another

    • A series of problems or difficulties.

      ‘it's one thing after another with this kid’
      • ‘Even as one thing after another goes wrong, he's still a lovable goof who loses his temper but never lets it get the best of him.’
      • ‘Now, this year alone, the show has been plagued by one thing after another.’
      • ‘One thing after another crowded in upon me, demanding attention and pushing further down the list the things that really mattered.’
      • ‘"It's been one thing after another with that shed," Cameron said, "We've been trying for ages to see if somebody wants it. There was nothing we could do in the end."’
      • ‘He said: "It's one thing after another at this club at the moment; I feel like I've been let down by the team and I can't understand why."’
      • ‘Every time I try to get my new blog working I hit another problem, it's just one thing after another.’
      • ‘He worked hard as a farmer, but one thing after another worked against him and he never progressed very far.’
      • ‘It was just one thing after another after another, but we never felt like giving up.’
      • ‘I had been virtually injury free all season and then in the last few weeks I seem to have suffered one thing after another.’
      • ‘Our heroes undergo setbacks and minor triumphs, disasters and near-disasters, even scrapes with death - one thing after another.’
  • one thing leads to another

    • Used to suggest that the exact sequence of events is too obvious to need recounting, the listener or reader being able to guess easily what happened.

      • ‘And one thing leads to another and then pretty soon, both people are in this violent dilemma.’
      • ‘But one thing leads to another, as smokers, dieters and alcoholics all know only too well.’
      • ‘Anyway it's also fun to see how one thing leads to another.’
      • ‘Like so many things in life, one thing leads to another.’
      • ‘And one thing leads to another and on and on it goes.’
  • a thing of the past

    • A thing that no longer happens or exists.

      • ‘Dressing up for a meeting with your accountant may soon be a thing of the past.’
      • ‘But for one group of tots, such light-hearted activity could be a thing of the past.’
      • ‘The guide suggests that Britain is now a truly united kingdom with the north-south divide a thing of the past.’
      • ‘The habit of walking children to school is mostly a thing of the past.’
      • ‘Actually, in some parts of the world this is becoming a thing of the past.’
  • a thing or two

    • informal Used to refer to useful information that can be imparted or learned.

      ‘Teddy taught me a thing or two about wine’
      • ‘Katy was more than grateful to her mother for teaching her a thing or two about first aid.’
      • ‘As he grew up, though, he discovered a thing or two that made him change his mind.’
      • ‘Now that's where we could show those other countries a thing or two.’
      • ‘However, having served 12 years in the Royal Navy, Richard knew a thing or two about spit and polish.’
      • ‘It is rich in culture and scenery and could teach us Irish a thing or two about how we care for our environment.’
      • ‘With adventures like these, you are going to have a great time and learn a thing or two.’
      • ‘He was older and had been with a few women older than himself who had taught him a thing or two.’
      • ‘Perhaps the Wiltshire trusts could learn a thing or two from that!’
      • ‘My brother taught me a thing or two, the rest I learnt from magazines and tapes.’
      • ‘Our children may only be starting out on life's learning curve, but they could teach us a thing or two.’
  • things that go bump in the night

    • humorous, informal Unexplained and frightening noises at night, regarded as being caused by ghosts.

      • ‘As a youngster I had a dreadful fear of ghost stories and things that go bump in the night.’
      • ‘You are thinking about things that go bump in the night and monsters under your bed and vampires peering at you through your window.’
      • ‘‘Only things that go bump in the night,’ Alexander said.’
      • ‘It was an active search for things that go bump in the night in the castle-filled countrysides of Scotland and Ireland.’
      • ‘But what of the other things that go bump in the night?’
      • ‘I have a fear of things that go bump in the night.’
      • ‘Meanwhile, professional ghost-finders are set to launch a three-day festival in York dedicated to the things that go bump in the night.’
      • ‘Don't get neurotic about things that go bump in the night!’
      • ‘If you're not afraid of the dark or things that go bump in the night you will at least have the nerve to make it through the audition.’
      • ‘He makes great use of silence and subtle sounds to remind us that the only thing scarier to a child than hearing the things that go bump in the night is not hearing them.’

Origin

Old English, of Germanic origin; related to German Ding. Early senses included ‘meeting’ and ‘matter, concern’ as well as ‘inanimate object’.

Pronunciation

thing

/θɪŋ//THiNG/