- 1[countable] an object whose name you do not use because you do not need to or want to, or because you do not know it Can you pass me that thing over there? She's very fond of sweet things (= sweet foods). He's just bought one of those exercise things. Turn that thing off while I'm talking to you!
- 2[countable] an object that is not alive in the way that people and plants are Don't treat her like that—she's a person, not a thing! He's good at making things with his hands. She took no interest in the people and things around her. possessions/equipment
- 3things [plural] objects, clothing, or tools that belong to someone or are used for a particular purpose Can I help you pack your things? This box is full of camping things. I'll just clear away the breakfast things. Put your things (= coat, etc.) on and let's go. anything
- 4 a thing [singular] used with negatives to mean “anything” in order to emphasize what you are saying I don't have a thing to wear! She hasn't had a thing to eat all day. There wasn't a thing we could do to help. Ignore what he said—it doesn't mean a thing. fact/event/situation/action
- 5 [countable] a fact, an event, a situation, or an action; what someone says or thinks There are a lot of things she doesn't know about me. There's another thing I'd like to ask you. A terrible thing happened last night. He found the whole thing (= the situation) very boring. I have loads of things to do today. The main thing to remember is to switch off the burglar alarm. I like camping, climbing, and that sort of thing. She said the first thing that came into her head. “Why did you tell her our secret?” “I did no such thing!” Let's forget the whole thing (= everything).
- 6things [plural] the general situation, as it affects someone Things haven't gone entirely to plan. (informal) Hi, Jane!How are things? Think things over before you decide. As things stand at present, he seems certain to win. All things considered (= considering all the difficulties or problems), she's done very well. Why do you make things so difficult for yourself? Thesaurussituationcircumstances position conditions things the case state of affairsThese are all words for the conditions and facts that are connected with and affect the way things are.situation all the things that are happening at a particular time and in a particular place:the current economic situationcircumstances the facts that are connected with and affect a situation, an event, or an action; the conditions of a person's life, especially the money they have:The ship sank in mysterious circumstances.position the situation that someone is in, especially when it affects what they can and cannot do:She knew that she was in a position of power.conditions the circumstances in which people live, work, or do things; the physical situation that affects how something happens:We were forced to work outside in freezing conditions.circumstances or conditions?Circumstances often refers to someone's financial situation;conditions are things such as the quality and amount of food or shelter they have. The circumstances that affect an event are the facts surrounding it; the conditions that affect it are usually physical ones, such as the weather.things (somewhat informal) the general situation, as it affects someone:Hi, Jane! How are things? Think things over before you decide.the case the true situation:If that is the case (= if the situation described is true), we need more staff.state of affairs a situation:Well, this is certainly a sorry state of affairs.situation or state of affairs?State of affairs is mostly used with this. It is also used with adjectives describing how good or bad a situation is, such as happy, sorry, shocking, and sad, as well as those relating to time, such as present and current. Situation is much more frequent and is used in a wider variety of contexts.Patterns in (a) particular situation/circumstances/position/state of affairs the/somebody's economic/financial/social situation/circumstances/position/conditions (a/an) happy/fortunate/unfortunate/sad situation/circumstances/position/state of affairs to look at/review the situation/circumstances/conditions/things what is needed/right
- 7[countable, usually singular] what is needed or socially acceptable You need something to cheer you up—I know just the thing! to say the right/wrong thing The best thing to do is to apologize. things of particular type
- 8things [plural] (formal) (followed by an adjective) all that can be described in a particular way She loves all things Japanese. creature
- 9[countable] (used with an adjective) a living creature All living things are composed of cells. person/animal
- 10[countable] (with an adjective) (informal) used to talk to or about a person or an animal, to show how you feel about them You silly thing! You must be starving, you poor things. The cat's very ill, poor old thing. Thesaurusthingsstuff property possessions junk belongings goods valuablesThese are all words for objects or items, especially ones that you own or have with you at a particular time.things (somewhat informal) objects, clothing, or tools that you own or that are used for a particular purpose:Can I help you pack your things? This box is full of camping things.stuff (informal) used to refer to a group of objects when you do not know their names, when the names are not important, or when it is obvious what you are talking about:Where's all my stuff? Don't forget your swimming stuff.things or stuff?These words are similar and often you can use either. Use things when the items might be used individually as tools (sewing thingsgardening things). Use stuff to refer to all the equipment necessary for one particular activity or project.property (somewhat formal) a thing or things that are owned by someone:This building is government property. Be careful not to damage other people's property.possessions things that you own, especially something that can be moved:Prisoners were allowed no personal possessions except letters and photographs.junk things that are considered useless or of little value:I've cleared out all that old junk from the attic.belongings possessions that can be moved, especially ones that you have with you at a particular time:Please make sure you have all your belongings with you when leaving the plane.goods (somewhat formal or technical) possessions that can be moved:She was found guilty of trading in stolen goods.valuables things that are worth a lot of money, especially small personal things such as jewelry or cameras:Never leave cash or other valuables lying around.Patterns personal things/stuff/property/possessions/belongings to collect/gather/pack (up) your things/stuff/possessions/belongings to search somebody's/your/the things/stuff/property/belongings to go through somebody's/your/the things/stuff/belongingsIdioms
- 1(of people) to please everyone by changing your attitudes or opinions to suit different people
- 2(of things) to be understood or used in different ways by different people
- 1not considered socially acceptable It wouldn't be quite the thing to turn up in running gear.
- 2(old-fashioned) not healthy or normal
nounjump to other results
if the conditions stay the same; if other conditions are the same All things being equal, we should finish the job tomorrow.
all/other things being equaljump to other results
used when you do not want to complete a list She likes nice clothes and things like that. I've been busy shopping and things.
and things (like that) (informal)jump to other results
as was shown or proved by later events I didn't need my umbrella, as it turned out (= because it didn't rain).
as it/things turned outjump to other results
be all things to all men/peoplejump to other results
to be lucky that… It's a good thing we got here early.
be a good thing (that)…jump to other results
used to say that although something seems to be bad, it could have good results We didn't want the press to get hold of the story, but it might be no bad thing.
be no bad thing (that)…jump to other results
to have found a job, situation, or style of life that is pleasant or easy
be onto a good thingjump to other results
to imagine that you can see or hear something that is in fact not there
be seeing/hearing things (informal) (humorous)jump to other results
the best, fastest, etc. thing of its kind currently available It’s a little expensive, but this computer is the best thing going right now. You won’t be disappointed; this car is the fastest thing going.
the best, fastest, etc. thing going (informal)jump to other results
to have the same result or meaning
come to/be the same thingjump to other results
to do what people or society expect, especially in a difficult situation He did the decent thing and resigned.
do the decent thingjump to other results
to do what you want to do or what interests you, without thinking about other people; to be independent
do your own thing (informal)jump to other results
to have a powerful emotional effect on someone That song just does things to me.
do things to somebody (informal)jump to other results
early in the morning/late in the evening I need the report on my desk first thing Monday morning. I took the dog for a walk last thing before going to bed.
first/last thingjump to other results
the most important matters must be dealt with first We have a lot to discuss, but, first things first, let's have a cup of coffee!
first things first (often humorous)jump to other results
used to introduce one of two or more reasons for doing something “Why don't you get a car?” “Well, for one thing, I can't drive!”
for one thingjump to other results
to have what you want, especially by opposing other people
have it/things/everything your own wayjump to other results
to have a strong like or dislike of someone or something in a way that seems strange or unreasonable She has a thing about men with beards.
have a thing about somebody/something (informal)jump to other results
in the way that things usually happen In the nature of things, young people often rebel against their parents.
in the nature of thingsjump to other results
B is very different from A, for example it is more difficult, serious, or important Romance is one thing, marriage is quite another. It's one thing to tease your sister, but it's another to hit her.
A is one thing, B is another, it's one thing to do A, it's another thing to do Bjump to other results
it is not something that you really enjoy or are interested in
it isn't my, his, etc. thingjump to other results
it is something that only a particular group understands You wouldn't know what it means—it's a girl thing.
it's a … thing (informal)jump to other results
to know/tell someone some useful, interesting, or surprising information about someone or something She's been married five times, so she knows a thing or two about men!
know/tell somebody a thing or two (about somebody/something) (informal)jump to other results
to make something seem more important than it really is
make a (big) thing of/about something (informal)jump to other results
a situation in which you are successful, but which could also have ended badly Phew! That was a near thing! It could have been a disaster. We won in the end, but it was a near thing.
a near thingjump to other results
to know nothing at all about something or someone We've lived next to him for years, but we still don't know the first thing about him.
not know, etc. the first thing about something/somebodyjump to other results
not quite the thingjump to other results
used to say that you do not want to discuss or think about something bad or unpleasant that has happened, but just accept it It wasn't your fault. It was just one of those things.
(just) one of those thingsjump to other results
used to complain that a lot of unpleasant things keep happening to you
one thing after another (informal)jump to other results
used to suggest that the way one event or action leads to others is so obvious that it does not need to be stated He offered me a ride home one night, and, well, one thing led to another and now we're married!
one thing leads to anotherjump to other results
used before mentioning a worry or problem you have with something I'd love to come—the only thing is I might be late.
the only thing is… (informal)jump to other results
to work, study, etc. too hard or for too long He's been overdoing things recently. I overdid it in the gym and hurt my back.
overdo it/thingsjump to other results
to take a risk because you have successfully avoided problems in the past You didn't get caught last time, but don't push your luck!
push your luck, push it/things (informal)jump to other results
the genuine thing Are you sure it's the real thing (= love), not just infatuation?
the real thing (informal)jump to other results
the way things seem to be organized; the way someone wants everything to be organized My personal problems are not really important in the overall scheme of things. I don't think marriage figures in his scheme of things.
the/somebody's scheme of thingsjump to other results
the way things are likely to develop in the future Are solar-powered cars the shape of things to come?
the shape of things to comejump to other results
used to say “yes” to a suggestion or request “Are you coming?” “Sure thing.”
sure thing (informal)jump to other results
to relax and avoid working too hard or doing too much The doctor told me to take it easy for a few weeks. I like to take things easy when I'm on vacation.
take it/things easyjump to other results
to not think about what will happen in the future I don't know if he'll get better. We're just taking it one day at a time.
take it/things one day at a time (informal)jump to other results
there is only one possible course of action
there's only one thing for itjump to other results
a situation or an activity of the type mentioned She really didn't want to be involved in the whole family thing.
the (whole)… thing (informal)jump to other results
used to introduce an important fact, reason, or explanation I'm sorry my assignment isn't finished. The thing is, I've had a lot of other work this week.
the thing is (informal)jump to other results
used to introduce a problem about something or someone The thing with Karl is, he's always late.
the thing (about/with something/somebody) isjump to other results
used to refer to ghosts and other supernatural things that cannot be explained There are mysterious lights in the sky and things that go bump in the night.
things that go bump in the night (informal) (humorous)jump to other results
used to say that, although something is pleasant, you do not want to have too much of it
too much of a good thingjump to other results
because you have been busy with various problems, events, or things you had to do I completely forgot her birthday, what with one thing and another.
(what) with one thing and another (informal)jump to other results
to arrange something in a particular way, especially by being smart Can you work it so that we get free tickets?
work it/things (informal)jump to other results