thing

thing 1 matter, concern, business, *affair
2 Thing, object, article are comprehensive terms applicable to whatever is apprehended as having actual, distinct, and demonstrable existence. They vary, however, in their range of application.
Thing is the term of widest reference. In its most inclusive sense it need not imply direct knowledge through the senses but is equally applicable to something so known and to something the existence of which is inferred from its signs or its effects; thus, one thinks of the state, the church, literature, and the law as things rather than as ideas or abstractions; a friend's affection is as real a thing as is his house or his hand; one distinguishes a word from the thing it names
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name the things that are on this table

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wanted to do the right thing

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a blind person recognizes things through such qualities as shape, texture, smell, taste, and sound

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In somewhat more restricted use thing can denote specifically an entity having existence in space or time as distinguished from one existing only in thought
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virtue is not a thing but an attribute of a thing

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or in still more restricted use an inanimate entity and especially a material possession as distinguished from living beings and especially persons
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more interested in things than in human beings

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Often the word is used idiomatically to mention without specifically identifying an item that cannot or need not be further identified or whose nature is implicit in the context; thus, in "be sure to wear warm things," clothing is implied; in "bring in the tea things," the necessary collection of dishes, implements, and foods is implied
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what's that thing in your hand?

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Occasionally thing may be used in reference to persons when contempt is expressed or derogation intended
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do you call that thing a man?

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Object has for its primary implications externality to the mind or existence outside the observer. In philosophic and scientific use it is applied to something that is put before one as an entity capable of being seen, observed, or contemplated
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a thinker may make an abstraction, such as love, art, or justice, an object of thought

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modern physicists are concentrating on the atom as an object of study

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This basic implication of object is its chief distinction from thing when either word is used to denote something that can be perceived by one or more of the senses. For object in this, its ordinary sense, is applied chiefly to what has body and usually substance and shape
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he groped his way in the darkness with hands outstretched to detect any objects in his path

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in the glare of the torch they saw moving objects in the distance

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Article is the most limited in its range of application, being used chiefly of objects that are thought of as members of a group, kind, or class
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meat is an important article of food

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articles of merchandise

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a chair is an article of furniture

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articles of apparel

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Analogous words: *item, detail, particular

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • thing — W1S1 [θıŋ] n ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬ 1¦(idea/action/feeling/fact)¦ 2¦(object)¦ 3¦(situation)¦ 4¦(nothing)¦ 5¦(person/animal)¦ 6¦(make a comment)¦ 7 the thing is 8 the last thing somebody wants/expects/needs etc 9 last thing …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • thing — [ θıŋ ] noun count *** ▸ 1 object/item ▸ 2 action/activity ▸ 3 situation/event ▸ 4 fact/condition ▸ 5 aspect of life ▸ 6 idea/information ▸ 7 something not specific ▸ 8 someone/something young you like ▸ + PHRASES 1. ) an object or ITEM. This… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • Thing — (th[i^]ng), n. [AS. [thorn]ing a thing, cause, assembly, judicial assembly; akin to [thorn]ingan to negotiate, [thorn]ingian to reconcile, conciliate, D. ding a thing, OS. thing thing, assembly, judicial assembly, G. ding a thing, formerly also,… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Thing — may refer to:In philosophy: * An object (philosophy), being, or entity * Thing in itself (or noumenon ), the reality that underlies perceptions, a term coined by Immanuel KantIn history: * Thing (assembly), also transliterated as ting or þing , a …   Wikipedia

  • thing — thing1 [thiŋ] n. [ME < OE, council, court, controversy, akin to Ger ding, ON thing (orig. sense, “public assembly,” hence, “subject of discussion, matter, thing”) < IE * tenk , to stretch, period of time < base * ten , to stretch >… …   English World dictionary

  • thing — (n.) O.E. þing meeting, assembly, later entity, being, matter (subject of deliberation in an assembly), also act, deed, event, material object, body, being, from P.Gmc. *thengan appointed time (Cf. O.Fris. thing assembly, council, suit, matter,… …   Etymology dictionary

  • thing — [n1] something felt, seen, perceived affair, anything, apparatus, article, being, body, business, circumstance, commodity, concept, concern, configuration, contrivance, corporeality, creature, device, element, entity, everything, existence,… …   New thesaurus

  • Thing — Thing, Ting Ting, n. [Dan. thing, ting, Norw. ting, or Sw. ting.] In Scandinavian countries, a legislative or judicial assembly; used, esp. in composition, in titles of such bodies. See {Legislature}, Norway. [Webster 1913 Suppl.] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Thing — Sn Volks und Gerichtsversammlung der Germanen erw. obs. (18. Jh.) Stammwort. Die Volksversammlung hieß ahd. ding, as. thing, das in normaler Entwicklung mit Bedeutungsveränderung nhd. Ding ergeben hat. Vermutlich wegen dieser… …   Etymologisches Wörterbuch der deutschen sprache

  • thing — ► NOUN 1) an inanimate material object. 2) an unspecified object. 3) (things) personal belongings or clothing. 4) an action, activity, concept, or thought. 5) (things) unspecified circumstances or matters: how are things? 6) …   English terms dictionary

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