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WordReference Random House Learner's Dictionary of American English © 2015
that /ðæt; unstressed ðət/USA pronunciation
pron. and adj., pl. those;
(used to refer to a person or thing pointed out or present, mentioned before, or supposed to be understood by the speaker and the listener, or to give emphasis):That is her mother (= the woman we have just pointed to or spoken about). After that we never saw each other ( = after some event we have just described,...). That's the man—with the plaid coat! (= the man you were just asking me if I'd seen).
(used to indicate one of several people or things already mentioned and to refer to the one that is farther away or more distant or remote in place, time, or thought; opposed to this)this:This is my sister and that's my cousin (= The one next to me or near me is my sister, and the one farther away is my cousin). Here, I'll take this and you take that (= I'll take the one near me, and you take the one near you or the one farther away from both of us).
(used to indicate one of several people or things already mentioned and to imply or suggest that there is a contrast between the two;
opposed to thisthis):This suit fits me better than that.
(used to introduce a relative clause, a clause that defines or says something to pinpoint the person or thing referred to):We saw the house that collapsed.
(used in conversation to add or connect something to some idea or statement previously made, so as to give more information about it):"I'd like to see you again tomorrow night.''—"That would be fine.''
(used before a noun to indicate a person, place, thing, or degree as indicated, mentioned before, present, well-known, or characteristic:That woman is her mother (= the one we were talking about).
(used before one noun from a group to indicate the one farther away or more distant or removed in time, place, or thought from the other or others already mentioned; opposed to this)this:This room is his and that one is mine ( = The one near us or near me is his, and the one near you or farther away from both of us is mine).
(used before a noun to indicate one of several people or things already mentioned and to imply that there is a contrast between the two;
opposed to this):not this house, but that one.
(used with adjectives and adverbs of quantity or amount) to the extent or degree indicated; so;
as much as:Don't take that much (= Don't take as much as you have taken, or as much as my hand indicates or points to).
to a great extent or degree:I guess it's not that important.
(used to introduce a subordinate clause that functions as the subject or object of the principal verb, introducing a necessary addition to a statement made, or introducing a clause that expresses cause, reason, purpose, aim, etc.:I'm sure that you'll like it. I believe that God exists.
(used to introduce an exclamation expressing strong feeling when another word, as a verb, has been left out):Oh, that I had never been born! (= Oh, I wish that I had never been born).
- Idiomsat that, in addition; besides:It was a long wait, and an exasperating one at that.
- Idiomsthat is, to be more accurate:I read the book; that is, I read most of it.
- Idioms, Informal Termsthat's that, [Informal.]there is no more to be said or done:I'm not going, and that's that!
- Idiomswith that, following that; thereupon:She said, "I quit!,'' and with that she left.
Collins Concise English Dictionary © HarperCollins Publishers::
that /ðæt; (unstressed) ðət/ determiner (used before a singular noun)
- used preceding a noun that has been mentioned at some time or is understood: that idea of yours
- (as pronoun): don't eat that, that's what I mean
- used preceding a noun that denotes something more remote or removed: that dress is cheaper than this one, that building over there is for sale
- (as pronoun): that is John and this is his wife, give me that
- used to refer to something that is familiar: that old chap from across the street
- and that, and all that ⇒ informal everything connected with the subject mentioned: he knows a lot about building and that
- at that ⇒ (completive-intensive) additionally, all things considered, or nevertheless: he's a pleasant fellow at that, I might decide to go at that
- like that ⇒ with ease; effortlessly: he gave me the answer just like that
- of such a nature, character, etc: he paid for all our tickets — he's like that
- that is ⇒ to be precise
- in other words
- for example
- that's that ⇒ there is no more to be done, discussed, etc
- used to introduce a noun clause: I believe that you'll come
- Also: so that, in order that used to introduce a clause of purpose: they fought that others might have peace
- used to introduce a clause of result: he laughed so hard that he cried
- used to introduce a clause after an understood sentence expressing desire, indignation, or amazement: oh, that I had never lived!
- used with adjectives or adverbs to reinforce the specification of a precise degree already mentioned: go just that fast and you should be safe
- Also: all that (usually used with a negative) informal (intensifier): he wasn't that upset at the news
- dialect (intensifier): the cat was that weak after the fight
Etymology: Old English thæt; related to Old Frisian thet, Old Norse, Old Saxon that, Old High German daz, Greek to, Latin istud, Sanskrit tadUSAGE
- used to introduce a restrictive relative clause: the book that we want
- used to introduce a clause with the verb to be to emphasize the extent to which the preceding noun is applicable: genius that she is, she outwitted the computer
Precise stylists maintain a distinction between that and which: that is used as a relative pronoun in restrictive clauses and which in nonrestrictive clauses. In the book that is on the table is mine, the clause that is on the table is used to distinguish one particular book (the one on the table) from another or others (which may be anywhere, but not on the table). In the book, which is on the table, is mine, the which clause is merely descriptive or incidental. The more formal the level of language, the more important it is to preserve the distinction between the two relative pronouns; but in informal or colloquial usage, the words are often used interchangeably