Definition: Thought

From New World Encyclopedia


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. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. A way of thinking (associated with a group, nation or region).
    Traditional eastern thought differs markedly from that of the west.
    In many ways, Unification thought can be seen as a combination of eastern and western thought.
  4. The careful consideration of multiple factors; deliberation.
    After much thought, I have decided to stay.
  5. A very small amount, distance, etc.; a whit or jot.

Usage notes

This word is also the past and past participal of the verb "think."

Derived terms

  • afterthought
  • food for thought
  • forethought
  • freedom of thought
  • free thought
  • give thought
  • line of thought
  • school of thought
  • second thought
  • thought balloon
  • thought bubble
  • thoughtful
  • thoughtless
  • thought pattern
  • thought process
  • thought-provoking
  • train of thought


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