You’ve likely heard about the word thy, but what does it mean? We’ll tell you. Read on to discover our complete guide on the meaning of thy.
If you’re a fan of Shaskphere or historical fiction, you’ve likely come across the word thy before, but what exactly does it mean? Is this strange three-letter word a typo?
Although “thy” may seem odd, it is an Old English word with a true definition listed in the dictionary. Interested in learning more? Read on to discover our complete guide on the term “thy.”
What Is the Definition of Thy?
According to the Collins Dictionary, “thy” (ðaɪ) is an old-fashioned, religious or poetic word for “your” when speaking to another individual. It is the possessive form of “thou” and is used to show possession.
The prefix thy is used only when addressing one person — especially God — in a personal capacity. For example, “though shalt love the Lord, thy God, with all thy heart.”
What Is the Etymology of Thy?
According to the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, our word of the day comes from the Middle English variant of “thin” or “thine” which derives from Old English thīn tu- in Indo-European roots.
Note: Thyn (Old English), thyne (Middle English), and thine (current spelling) are all “your.”
What Are the Synonyms of Thy?
If you pop open a thesaurus, you’ll discover a number of synonyms and similar words for the word thy — here are some of them:
What Is Thou?
Simply put, “thou” is an archaic possessive pronoun that means “you.” Thou can also be used as an abbreviation for thousand, such as a thousandth of an inch.
Like the word “thy,” you might see thou in Shakespeare’s plays such as Romeo and Juliet. Just look at this famous quote: “Wherefore art thou Romeo?”
Are There Any Other Old English Pronouns?
In Modern English, there are really only four pronouns that are frequently used to address a person or persons: you, your, yourself, and yours.
In contrast, Old English used ten pronouns:
- Thou — Used to address a person of inferior status, such as a servant or child. Also used to address a friend, to impart a poetic ring when expressing profound thoughts, or when reciting a prayer.
- Thee — Like thou, thee is used when addressing a person of inferior status, to impart a poetic ring, or to recite a prayer.
- Thy — Used similarly to thou and thee; however, thy is not used before words beginning with a vowel or before words that start with a silent “h” followed by a vowel. Instead, the word “thine” is used.
- Thyself — Used similarly to thou, thee, and thy.
- Thine — Used to show possession without a following noun as well as with a following noun starting with a vowel or a silent “h” followed by a vowel.
- Ye — Used to address one or several people of exalted social position(s).
- You, Your, Yourself, Yours — Used in the same way that they are used today.
How Can You Use Thy in a Sentence?
Now that you understand what “thy” means, let’s practice using it in a sentence. Quiz yourself to see how many sentences you can come up with on your own using our word of the day.
To get inspired, feel free to check out our example sentences listed below:
“What is thy name?”
“It’s important that you always honor thy mother and thy father, for without them, there wouldn’t be thee.”
“You must always honor thy pledge.”
“According to the ten commandments, you must love thy neighbor.”
“I will be thy friend, but not thy enemy’s friend.”
“Bring me thy rod and thy staff!”
“Be sure to give everyone thine ear, but hesitate about thy voice.”
What Are Translations of Thy?
Wondering how to say our word of the day in a different language? We’ve got you covered. Here are the translations of thy:
- Chinese (Traditional) — 你的（thou 的所有格）
- French — ton/ta, tes
- Norwegian — din
- Ukrainian — твій
- Italian — tuo, tua, tuoi
- Czech — tvůj, tvá (atd.)
- Danish — din
- Thai — ของท่าน
- Vietnamese — của ngươi, của anh
- Malay — kamu, -mu
- German — dein
- Indonsesian — Anda
- Portuguese — tu
- Spanish — vuestro, vuestra, vuestros
- Chinese (Simplified) — 你的（thou 的所有格）
Are There Any Famous Quotes Using Thy?
As a matter of fact, there are quite a few famous quotes with the word thy. Here are some of the most well-known quotes using thy:
“To know thy self is to know thy enemy. A thousand battles, a thousand victories.” — Sun Tzu
“Let food by thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” — Hippocrates
“Forgive, thy Lord, my little jokes on Thee, and I will forgive Thy great big joke on me.” — Robert Frost
“If thy brother wrongs thee, remember not so much his wrong-doing, but more than ever that he is thy brother.” — Epictetus
“Drown in a vat of whiskey? Death, where is thy sting?” — W.C. Fields
“Teach not thy lip such scom, for it was made for kissing, lady, not for such contempt.” — William Shakespear
“But curb thou the spirit in thy breast? For gentle ways are best… and keep aloof from sharp contentions.” — Homer
“Thou wilt find rest from vain fancies if thou doest every act in life as though it thy last.” — Aristotle
So, what does “thy” mean?
In short, the old word thy is the possessive case of thou when used as an attributive adjective prior to using a noun beginning with a consonant sound. In other words, the definition of thy is “your.”