the [thə; ] before vowels [thē, thi]
adj., definite article
[ME, indeclinable article < OE se (nom. masc. article) with th- < other case & gender forms ( thone, thæs, thære, thæm, thy): for IE base see THAT; the meaning is controlled by the basic notion “previously recognized, noticed, or encountered” in distinction to A2, AN1]
I referring to a particular person, thing, or group (as opposed to a, an), as:
1. that (one) being spoken of or already mentioned [the story ended]
2. that (one) which is present, close, nearby, etc., as distinguished from all others viewed as remote [the day just started, the heat is oppressive]
3. that (one) designated or identified, as by a title [the President (of the U.S.), the Mississippi (River)]
4. that (one) considered outstanding, most fashionable, etc.: usually italicized in print [that's the restaurant in town]
5. that (one) belonging to a person previously mentioned or understood [take me by the hand, rub into the face]
6. one specified period of time, esp. a decade [the Dark Ages, the seventies]
7. Informal that (one) who has a specific family relationship to one [the wife, the kid sister]
II referring to that one of a number of persons or things which is identified by a modifier, as by:
1. an attributive adjective [the front door]
2. a relative clause [the man who answered]
3. a prepositional phrase [the hit of the week]
4. an infinitive phrase [the right to strike]
5. a participle [follow the directions given]
III referring to a or thing considered generically or universally, as:
1. one taken as the representative of the entire genus or type [learn to use the typewriter, the cow is a domestic animal]
2. an adjective used as a noun [the good, the beautiful, the true]
1. that much; to that extent [the better to see you with]
2. by how much . . . by that much; to what extent . . . to that extent: used in a correlative construction expressing comparison [the sooner the better]
to each; in each; for each; per [at five dollars the half ton]

English World dictionary. . 2014.

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