Learner's definition of THING
1 a : an object whose name is not known or stated b : an object, animal, quality, etc., of any kind
c : a particular event, occurrence, or situation
My doctor told me to avoid fatty things like donuts and potato chips.
We must respect all living things.
She loves all things chocolate. [=she loves anything made out of chocolate]
Her voice is a thing of great beauty. [=her voice is very beautiful]
The disease is said to be a thing of the past. [=the disease no longer exists]
The drawer has pens, paper clips, and things (like that).
Birth is a miraculous thing.
It was the worst thing that could have happened.
That sunset was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.
Let's just forget about the whole thing and move on.
The one thing I hate most is being lied to.
It's a good thing (that) no one was injured.
Becoming friends with your boss is not a bad thing. = Becoming friends with your boss is no bad thing. [=becoming friends with your boss could have good results]
2 things [plural] : objects that belong to a person : personal possessions or belongings
Are all your things packed?
I need a place to store my things.
The children's things are always lying around on the floor.
When she realized she was late for work, she quickly put on her things [=she put on her clothes, shoes, etc.] and left.
3 things [plural] : objects that are used for a particular activity 4 [count] : an action that is done, that will be done, or that needs to be done
— sometimes used to say that one action is more serious, difficult, or important than another.
I have many things to do today. = I have lots of things that need to get done today.
There are a few things we still have to deal with.
There is actually one thing you can do to help.
Let's get this thing over with quickly.
That was a mean/cruel/kind/generous/thoughtful thing to do.
They expect great things from her. [=they expect her to be very successful]
The boy did the right thing and gave back the toy he took.
It's no easy thing [=it's not easy] to raise three children by yourself.
Cathy and I hit it off on our first date. One thing led to another, and pretty soon we were engaged.
5 a : an activity
b informal : an activity that is done by a particular group of people
What things do you like to do in your spare time?
I like hiking, biking—that sort of thing.
The students are allowed to do their own thing. [=do the activities that they want to do]
Just do your thing [=do what you usually do] and pretend I'm not here.
c US, informal : an activity and everything that is related to it — usually singular d informal : an activity that someone enjoys or does well — usually singular
They spent the evening doing guy things. [=doing the kind of things that guys/men tend to like doing]
You wouldn't understand, Dad. It's a girl thing.
6 things [plural] : the conditions that exist at a particular time and in a particular place
Things are improving. [=the situation is improving]
How are things with the new baby?
You're just making things more difficult for yourself.
As things stand now [=in the current situation], we can't afford a new car.
An apology would not change things between us.
All things considered [=overall; when you think about everything that happened], the party went very well.
7 [count] : a fact or piece of information about something or someone
He checks every little thing. [=detail]
There are a lot of things you don't know about us.
The thing I don't understand is why the car costs so much.
When buying a car, price and performance are important things to consider.
There is one more thing I'd like to ask you.
Several things were discussed at the meeting.
I'll give you a couple of days to think things over. [=to think about the situation and make a decision]
We are always arguing, but the (funny) thing is, I think I love him.
The thing is that [=it is important to understand that] you can never predict who will win.
I make excellent chili. The thing is to pick the right peppers. [=to make excellent chili, you need to pick the right peppers]
The thing with/about him [=an important characteristic to know about him] is that he is not reliable.
8 [count] : a thought, idea, or opinion
He just says the first thing that pops into his mind.
Don't say things you might regret later.
That was a terrible thing to say.
He had some interesting things to suggest.
She always knows the right thing to say.
9 [singular] : a reason for something
I can't stand being around him. For one thing, he smokes. For another, he's rude.
OK, here's the thing: I don't have enough money to go to college.
I'm sorry I didn't call you. The thing is, I've been really busy with work and school.
The thing is that I haven't had time to call you.
10 a : a goal or purpose b : a way of reaching or achieving a goal 11 [count], informal — used for a person, animal, or object that causes strong feelings of affection or dislike in you
You poor thing, you must be freezing.
She's a pretty little thing, isn't she!
Get that dirty thing out of my house!
12 [count], informal : a strong feeling of liking or disliking something or someone — usually singular — used with have
She has a thing about snakes. [=she's afraid of snakes]
He has always had this thing with flying.
My teacher had this/a thing against me. [=my teacher disliked me for some unknown reason]
He has a thing for [=he likes] women with red hair.
13 a : the item that is the most fashionable or popular b : the fashionable or proper way of behaving, talking, or dressing
all/other things being equalformal
— used to say what should happen or be true if two situations, products, etc., are different in a specified way but not in other ways
all things to all people/men
: a person or thing that makes all people happy by giving them what they want or need
It was clear that the senator was trying to be all things to all people in her campaign.
The museum is all things to all people, young and old.
amount to the same thing
◊ If two or more things amount to the same thing, there is very little difference between them.
: anything — used in negative statements
I can't see a thing [=I can see nothing] without my glasses on.
The guests will be here soon, and I don't have a thing (that is appropriate) to wear.
Don't worry about a thing. I'll take care of everything.
I can't do a thing to stop them!
I got there early so I wouldn't miss a thing.
The police couldn't get a thing out of him.
She refused to tell me a thing about it.
I haven't heard a thing from him since graduation.
We haven't had a thing to eat all day.
Forget what he said—it doesn't mean a thing. [=it has no meaning or importance; it's not true]
None of this will mean a thing if we lose.
She doesn't look a thing like [=anything like] her older sister.
His new album doesn't sound a thing like his last one. [=his new album sounds nothing like his old one]
a thing or twoinformal
: some useful information
chance would be a fine thing
have another thing cominginformal
— used to say that someone is wrong or mistaken
just the thing
: the thing that is most likely to be helpful
Chicken soup is just the thing for a cold.
I know just the thing to cheer you up—ice cream!
He always does/says just the right thing to make me feel better.
make a big thinginformal
◊ If you make a big thing (out) of (something) or make a big thing about (something), you act as if something is very important or serious when it is not.
It was a minor error, but she made a big thing out of it.
Don't make such a big thing about missing the bus: there'll be another one along in a minute.
no such thing
1 — used to say that a particular person, object, etc., does not really exist — often + as 2 — used to say that you did not say or do something that someone believes or says you did
of all things
— used to emphasize that the thing you are referring to is the thing you would least expect
one of those thingsinformal
— used to refer to a bad or unfortunate experience that happened and to say that such experiences happen to everyone
one thing after another
— used to complain about the large number of bad or unfortunate events that happen to someone
It's one thing after another with him. Now he's in jail for drunk driving.
First I locked my keys in the car, and then I spilled coffee all over myself. It was just one thing after another today!
the real thing
: something that is genuine and not a copy or imitation : something that is truly valuable or important
The diamond turned out to be the real thing.
a substitute for the real thing
You've done very well in your training. Let's just hope you're ready for the real thing.
(what) with one thing and anotherinformal
— used to say that you have been very busy doing or dealing with many things