Definition of the definite article from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



     definite article
    definite article
    BrE BrE//ðə//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ðə//
    ; BrE BrE//ði//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ði//
    ; BrE strong form BrE//ðiː//
    ; NAmE strong form NAmE//ðiː//
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  1. 1  used to refer to somebody/something that has already been mentioned or is easily understood There were three questions. The first two were relatively easy but the third one was hard. There was an accident here yesterday. A car hit a tree and the driver was killed. The heat was getting to be too much for me. The nights are getting longer.
  2. 2  used to refer to somebody/something that is the only, normal or obvious one of their kind the Mona Lisa the Nile the Queen What's the matter? The phone rang. I patted her on the back. How's the (= your) baby?
  3. 3  used when explaining which person or thing you mean the house at the end of the street The people I met there were very friendly. It was the best day of my life. You're the third person to ask me that. Friday the thirteenth Alexander the Great
  4. 4  used to refer to a thing in general rather than a particular example He taught himself to play the violin. The dolphin is an intelligent animal. They placed the African elephant on their endangered list. I heard it on the radio. I'm usually out during the day.
  5. 5  used with adjectives to refer to a thing or a group of people described by the adjective With him, you should always expect the unexpected. the unemployed the French
  6. 6  used before the plural of somebody’s last name to refer to a whole family or a married couple Don't forget to invite the Jordans.
  7. 7enough of something for a particular purpose I wanted it but I didn't have the money.
  8. 8  used with a unit of measurement to mean ‘every’ My car does forty miles to the gallon. You get paid by the hour.
  9. 9used with a unit of time to mean ‘the present’ Why not have the dish of the day? She's flavour of the month with him.
  10. 10
    BrE BrE//ðiː//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ðiː//
    used, stressing the, to show that the person or thing referred to is famous or important Sheryl Crow? Not the Sheryl Crow? At that time London was the place to be.
  11. Word OriginOld English se, sēo, thæt, ultimately superseded by forms from Northumbrian and North Mercian thē, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch de, dat, and German der, die, das.Idioms
    the more, less, etc…, the more, less, etc…
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     used to show that two things change to the same degree The more she thought about it, the more depressed she became. The less said about the whole thing, the happier I'll be.