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[thou-zuh nd] /ˈθaʊ zənd/
noun, plural thousands (as after a numeral) thousand.
a cardinal number, 10 times 100.
a symbol for this number, as 1000 or M.
thousands, the numbers between 1000 and 999,999, as in referring to an amount of money:
Property damage was in the thousands.
a great number or amount.
Also, thousand's place.
  1. (in a mixed number) the position of the fourth digit to the left of the decimal point.
  2. (in a whole number) the position of the fourth digit from the right.
amounting to 1000 in number.
Origin of thousand
before 900; Middle English; Old English thūsend; cognate with Dutch duizend, Old High German dūsunt, Old Norse thūsund, Gothic thūsindi Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for thousands
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • But all these thousands, hurrying from the field, were not the entire army.

    Personal Recollections of a Cavalryman J. H. (James Harvey) Kidd
  • It is a situation in which hundreds and thousands are placed, Morris; and why not we, as well as they?

    Deerbrook Harriet Martineau
  • The price that the tens of thousands of little children have paid!

    The War Romance of the Salvation Army Evangeline Booth and Grace Livingston Hill
  • They have systems of good manners which have been practiced for thousands of years.

    Folkways William Graham Sumner
  • thousands have no parents, and thousands more have parents who are far worse than none.

    The Assembly of God C. (Charles) H. (Henry) Mackintosh
British Dictionary definitions for thousands


the cardinal number that is the product of 10 and 100 See also number (sense 1)
a numeral, 1000, 10³, M, etc, representing this number
(often pl) a very large but unspecified number, amount, or quantity: they are thousands of miles away
(pl) the numbers 2000–9999: the price of the picture was in the thousands
the amount or quantity that is one hundred times greater than ten
something represented by, representing, or consisting of 1000 units
(maths) the position containing a digit representing that number followed by three zeros: in 4760, 4 is in the thousand's place
  1. amounting to a thousand: a thousand ships
  2. (as pronoun): a thousand is hardly enough
amounting to 1000 times a particular scientific unit
prefix kilo- adjective millenary
Word Origin
Old English thūsend; related to Old Saxon thūsind, Old High German thūsunt, Old Norse thūsund
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 thousands



Old English þusend, from Proto-Germanic *thusundi (cf. Old Frisian thusend, Dutch duizend, Old High German dusunt, German tausend, Old Norse þusund, Gothic þusundi).

Related to words in Balto-Slavic (cf. Lithuanian tukstantis, Old Church Slavonic tysashta, Polish tysiąc, Czech tisic), and probably ultimately a compound with indefinite meaning "several hundred" or "a great multitude" (with first element perhaps related to Sanskrit tawas "strong, force").

Used to translate Greek khilias, Latin mille, hence the refinement into the precise modern meaning. There was no general Indo-European word for "thousand." Slang shortening thou first recorded 1867. Thousand island dressing (1916) is presumably named for the region of New York on the St. Lawrence River.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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thousands in the Bible

(Micah 5:2), another name for "families" or "clans" (see Num. 1:16; 10:4; Josh. 22:14, 21). Several "thousands" or "families" made up a "tribe."

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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Idioms and Phrases with thousands
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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