English - Etymology 1
From Middle English thou, thow, thu, þou, from Old English þū, from Proto-Germanic *þū, from Proto-Indo-European *túh₂. Akin to Old Frisian thū (West Frisian do), Old Saxon thū (Low German du), Old Dutch thū (Middle Dutch du, Limburgish doe), Old High German dū (German du), Old Norse þú, (Icelandic þú, Danish du, Norwegian du, Swedish du, Old Swedish þu), Latin tu, Ancient Greek σύ (sú) (Modern Greek εσύ (esý)).
- Thou is used with the archaic second-person singular of verbs, which usually ends in -est, as in, for example, “Lovest thou me?” Irregular forms include: art (of be), hast (of have), shalt (of shall), wost (of wit), wilt (of will), and dost (of do).
(transitive) To address (a person) using the pronoun thou, especially as an expression of familiarity or contempt.
- 1888, Rudyard Kipling, ‘On the City Wall’, In Black and White, Folio Society 2005, p. 443:
- I thou thee, thou traitor! (Edward Coke to Walter Raleigh)
- Avaunt, caitiff, dost thou thou me! I am come of good kin, I tell thee! (The morality play Hickscorner, ca. 1530)
- If thou thou'st him some thrice, it shall not be amiss[...] (Twelfth Night 3.2, Sir Toby Belch to Sir Andrew, egging him on to pick a fight with another, where one would expect one knight courteously to say to another, "If you thou him...").
- Don't thou them as thous thee! (Yorkshire English admonition to overly familiar children)
- (intransitive) To use the word thou.