the

Definitions

General English

  • article meaning something in particular, as opposed to ‘a’
  • article used with something of which only one exists, e.g. in the names of places
  • article used for referring to a thing in general
  • article meaning something special

Theater

  • (written as THE)
    Theatre in Health Education. A British movement in which companiestravel to schools, colleges, and universities to present dramaswith health-education messages. The subjects have included AIDS, drugs,and smoking. Funding comes from fees as well as from private and governmentsources. West Midland companies, including Birmingham's Theatre inHealth Education Trust, charge no fees because they are financed bythe regional health authority. The Contagious Theatre Company (now defunct)was funded totally by Femidom, the manufacturer of female condoms. seealso TIE.

Origin & History of “the”

The nominative forms of the Old English definite article were se (masculine), sēo (feminine), and thæt (neuterancestor of modern English that). In the late Old English period se was replaced by the, probably an eroded version of that and perhaps the same word as the Old English relative particle the. Its drafting in to take the place of se was no doubt promoted by the fact that all the inflected forms of the Old English definite article (thone, thæm, thæs, etc) began with th-. when the distinction between genders began to die out in the early middle English period, the took over as the general form.
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