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Collins Concise English Dictionary © HarperCollins Publishers::
the /(stressed or emphatic) ðiː; (unstressed before a consonant) ðə; (unstressed before a vowel) ðɪ/ determiner (article)
Etymology: Middle English, from Old English thē, a demonstrative adjective that later superseded sē (masculine singular) and sēo, sio (feminine singular); related to Old Frisian thi, thiu, Old High German der, diu
- used preceding a noun that has been previously specified: the pain should disappear soon, the man then opened the door
- used with a qualifying word or phrase to indicate a particular person, object, etc, as distinct from others: ask the man standing outside, give me the blue one
- used preceding certain nouns associated with one's culture, society, or community: to go to the doctor, listen to the news, watch the television
- used preceding present participles and adjectives when they function as nouns: the singing is awful, the dead salute you
- used preceding titles and certain uniquely specific or proper nouns, such as place names: the United States, the Honourable Edward Brown, the Chairman, the moon
- used preceding a qualifying adjective or noun in certain names or titles: William the Conqueror, Edward the First
- used preceding a noun to make it refer to its class generically: the white seal is hunted for its fur, this is good for the throat, to play the piano
- used instead of my, your, her, etc, with parts of the body: take me by the hand
- (usually stressed) the best, only, or most remarkable: Harry's is the club in this town
- used with proper nouns when qualified: written by the young Hardy
- another word for per, esp with nouns or noun phrases of cost: fifty pence the pound
- often facetious or derogatory my; our: the wife goes out on Thursdays
- used preceding a unit of time in phrases or titles indicating an outstanding person, event, etc: match of the day, player of the year
the /ðə; ðɪ/ adv
Etymology: Old English thī, thӯ, instrumental case of the1 and that; related to Old Norse thī, Gothic thei
- (often followed by for) used before comparative adjectives or adverbs for emphasis: she looks the happier for her trip
- used correlatively before each of two comparative adjectives or adverbs to indicate equality: the sooner you come, the better, the more I see you, the more I love you