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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 pronouns
  • But an educated speaker is expected to keep his pronouns in line.
  • Similarly, the use of undefined pronouns is irksome when they refer to an earlier message.
  • No doubt this pattern of pronouns reflects a reality.
  • Wall charts show pronouns, colors, parts of the human body.
  • That, and those repulsive invented gender-neutral pronouns.
  • Adjectives and adjectival pronouns agree with nouns in number and gender.
  • Personal pronouns personal pronouns are seldom borrowed between languages.
  • The interrogative pronouns are used strictly for asking questions.
  • Interrogative pronouns rarely occur in the plural, though they may.
  • The plural interrogative pronouns are the same as the plural relative pronouns.
British Dictionary definitions for pronouns


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 pronouns



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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pronouns 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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