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[proh-noun] /ˈproʊˌnaʊn/
noun, Grammar
any member of a small class of words found in many languages that are used as replacements or substitutes for nouns and noun phrases, and that have very general reference, as I, you, he, this, who, what. Pronouns are sometimes formally distinguished from nouns, as in English by the existence of special objective forms, as him for he or me for I, and by nonoccurrence with an article or adjective.
Origin of pronoun
1520-30; < Middle French pronom < Latin prōnōmen (stem prōnōmin-). See pro-1, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for pronoun
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The use of the pronoun, the disuse of the grammar pulled him up short.

  • In grammar it is a pronoun of the first person and singular number.

    The Devil's Dictionary Ambrose Bierce
  • He whispered the pronoun so softly that it sounded like a sigh.

    The Divine Fire May Sinclair
  • And at each utterance of the pronoun he lunged with his forefinger in the direction of his son.

    The Suitors of Yvonne Raphael Sabatini
  • The pronoun is emphatic: it means to say, His foolhardiness is My doing and cannot go beyond My will: thou art safe.

British Dictionary definitions for pronoun


one of a class of words that serves to replace a noun phrase that has already been or is about to be mentioned in the sentence or context pron
Word Origin
C16: from Latin prōnōmen, from pro-1 + nōmen noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for pronoun

mid-15c., from pro- and noun; modeled on Middle French pronom, from Latin pronomen, from pro- "in place of" + nomen "name, noun" (see name (n.)). A loan-translation of Greek antonymia.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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pronoun in Culture

pronoun definition

A word that takes the place of a noun. She, herself, it, and this are examples of pronouns. If we substituted pronouns for the nouns in the sentence “Please give the present to Karen,” it would read “Please give it to her.”

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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