The Meaning of Thus Far: What It Is and How To Use It

This article will give you all of the information you need on the phrase thus far, including its definition, origin, usage, example sentences and more!

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What does thus far mean?

According to Collins English Dictionary, thus far is a phrasal adverb that means up until now, in a situation or story. This phrase is similar to the phrases “so far,” and “up until now,” and the phrases can usually be used interchangeably in spoken English, particularly in the idioms “so far, so good” and “thus far, so good.” The phrase thus far may be viewed as slightly more formal in the present time, but the two bear no significant difference in tone or meaning. “Thus” and “far” are frequent collocations, and “thus” is rarely seen on its own today.

This is not to be confused with the phrase “this far” in the English language. According to Dictionary, the word “this” when used as an adverb means “to the extent or degree that is indicated.” Therefore, “this far” implies that the phrase is more about accomplishment or location than placement in a story.

The two phrases are used slightly differently. One might say, “we’ve made it this far,” as opposed to, “we’ve done well thus far.” The two phrases have minor differences but cannot be used interchangeably.

What is the origin of the phrase thus far?

According to 7ESL, the first known usage of the phrase “thus far” is in William Shakespeare’s 1599 play Henry V. The chorus in the play speaks the following line in Act 5, Scene 2, according to Sparknotes. In this scene, Henry decides he wants to marry Princess Katherine and they make treaties that ensure their sons will inherit the French throne.

Thus far, with trough and all-unable pen,

Our bending author hath pursu’d the story,

In little room confining mighty men,

Mangling by starts the full course of their glory.

Grammarphobia asserts that the first usage of the word “thus” to mean “so” comes from Beowulf, and that the Oxford English Dictionary shows citations from Anglo-Saxon days. One may find it difficult to decipher the word if they were to read Beowulf in the Old English, however. According to Etymonline, the word used to be represented as þus.

How can the phrase thus far be used in a sentence?

The phrase thus far can be used in a variety of settings, whether casual or formal. It may be seen in speeches or presentations, or in everyday conversation. In this first example, Satchel is giving a presentation to the rest of his team. His closing sentence is as follows:

Satchel: As you can see, our second quarter numbers are 15% higher than in the first quarter. If we can continue with the same growth we’ve had thus far, I am certain we will reach our annual goal. And maybe even a couple of months early!

Here, Satchel uses the phrase thus far to describe the growth that the company has had at the end of the second quarter. In the next example, Trina and Eloise are trying out for the school dance team. They have made it through two rounds of cuts to get to the finals.

Trina: I’m not sure I can dance for another second, Eloise. I’m exhausted.

Eloise: Come on, Trina! You’ve done great thus far, don’t stop now. Go get a little snack and some water. We can do it!

Trina: You’re right. I didn’t come this far to quit now.

Here, we see both the phrases “thus far” and “this far.” Eloise uses thus far meaning what has happened up until the present moment. This far is used to describe the journey Trina and Eloise have been on in their dance team auditions. While these phrases sound and act very similarly, one should be careful not to conflate the two, and should exercise caution to ensure they are using them correctly.

What other phrases did Shakespeare invent?

According to Your Dictionary, Shakespeare invented or popularized thousands of words and phrases. While he may not necessarily have invented them, he wrote many of them down for the first time. Some of these phrases are listed below alongside the play they were first seen in.

  • What’s done is done – Macbeth
  • Wild goose chase – Romeo & Juliet
  • Wear one’s heart on their sleeve – Othello
  • Too much of a good thing – As You Like It
  • The lady doth protest too much – Hamlet
  • Pound of flesh – The Merchant of Venice
  • It’s Greek to me – Julius Casar
  • In a pickle – The Tempest
  • Fair play – The Tempest
  • A laughing stock – The Merry Wives of Windsor
  • The devil incarnate – Titus Andronicus
  • Come what may – Macbeth
  • Break the ice – The Taming of the Shrew
  • All that glitters isn’t gold – The Merchant of Venice
  • As luck would have it – The Merry Wives of Windsor
  • Cold comfort – King John

What are synonyms to the phrase thus far?

7ESL and Thesaurus list numerous synonyms to the phrase thus far, which are listed below. Any of these can be used interchangeably.

  • Until this time
  • To this day
  • Thereafter
  • Since that time
  • Thenceforth
  • Henceforth
  • To date
  • Till
  • Up until now
  • Heretofore
  • Hitherto
  • Up to now
  • Until now
  • Till now
  • Till date
  • So far
  • Still
  • As yet

Overall, thus far is a common phrase in spoken English that means “up until now.” It is frequently seen in both casual and formal conversation, often when telling a story or describing events or progress. The term should not be confused with the similar phrase “this far.”