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thought definition


This page has 8 definitions of thought in English and Middle English. Thought is a noun and verb. Examples of how to use thought in a sentence are shown. Also define these 0 related words and terms: .

English thought definition

A girl in thought

Alternative forms


From Middle English thought, ithoȝt, from Old English þōht, ġeþōht, from Proto-West Germanic *þą̄ht, from Proto-Germanic *þanhtaz, *gaþanhtą (thought), from Proto-Indo-European *teng- (to think). Cognate with Scots thocht (thought), Saterland Frisian Toacht (thought), West Frisian dacht (attention, regard, thought), Dutch gedachte (thought), German Andacht (reverence, devotion, prayer), Icelandic þóttur (thought). Related to thank.



thought (countable and uncountable, plural thoughts)

  1. (countable) Representation created in the mind without the use of one's faculties of vision, sound, smell, touch, or taste; an instance of thinking.
    The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.
    • 1897 December (indicated as 1898), Winston Churchill, chapter VIII, in The Celebrity: An Episode, New York, N.Y.: The Macmillan Company; London: Macmillan & Co., Ltd., →OCLC:
      I corralled the judge, and we started off across the fields, in no very mild state of fear of that gentleman's wife, whose vigilance was seldom relaxed. And thus we came by a circuitous route to Mohair, the judge occupied by his own guilty thoughts, and I by others not less disturbing.
    • 1918, W[illiam] B[abington] Maxwell, chapter V, in The Mirror and the Lamp, Indianapolis, Ind.: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, →OCLC:
      He was thinking; but the glory of the song, the swell from the great organ, the clustered lights, [] , the height and vastness of this noble fane, its antiquity and its strength—all these things seemed to have their part as causes of the thrilling emotion that accompanied his thoughts.
  2. (uncountable) The operation by which mental activity arise or are manipulated; the process of thinking; the agency by which thinking is accomplished.
    Without freedom of thought there can be no such thing as wisdom, and no such thing as public liberty without freedom of speech.
    • a. 1983, Paul Fix (attributed quote)
      The only reason some people get lost in thought is because it’s unfamiliar territory.
  3. (uncountable) A way of thinking (associated with a group, nation or region).
    Traditional eastern thought differs markedly from that of the west.
  4. (uncountable, now dialectal) Anxiety, distress.
  5. (uncountable) The careful consideration of multiple factors; deliberation.
    Synonyms: see Thesaurus:consideration
    After much thought, I have decided to stay.
  6. A very small amount, distance, etc.; a whit or jot.
    • 1902, John Buchan, The Outgoing of the Tide:
      'Bide the night at Heriotside,' says he. 'It's a thought out of your way, but it's a comfortable bit.'

Derived terms


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  1. simple past and past participle of think

Middle English thought definition

Alternative forms


From Old English þōht, from Proto-West Germanic *þą̄ht, from Proto-Germanic *þanhtaz.


  • IPA(key): /θɔxt/, /θɔu̯xt/


thought (plural thoughtes)

  1. product of mental activity