Definition of that in English:

that

Line breaks: that
Pronunciation: /ðat
 
, ðət
 
/

pronoun (plural those /ðəʊz/)

1Used to identify a specific person or thing observed or heard by the speaker: that’s his wife over there hello, is that Ben?
More example sentences
  • That's a hawk atop the big rock.
  • That's a nice necklace.
  • Who's that in the corner?
1.1Referring to the more distant of two things near to the speaker (the other, if specified, being identified by ‘this’): this is stronger than that
More example sentences
  • This one is bigger than that.
  • I like this better than that.
2Referring to a specific thing previously mentioned, known, or understood: that’s a good idea what are we going to do about that?
More example sentences
  • Ivy mentioned going with the flow; I realised that only recently?
  • We were having a little understeer in the beginning and then we were working that out.
  • That's the sort of thing you paid your money to hear, and those are just two adjacent songs from one album.
3 [often with clause] Used in singling out someone or something and ascribing a distinctive feature to them: it is part of human nature to be attracted to that which is aesthetically pleasing his appearance was that of someone used to sleeping on the streets
More example sentences
  • The steps which are imperative are those that would wipe out the disease completely.
  • The underlying theme of the works is dreams, in particular those that have been lost.
  • If you are a beginner, as we all were at some point, ask and learn from those that have lifted for a while.
4 informal , chiefly British Expressing strong agreement with a description just given: ‘He’s a fussy man.’ ‘He is that.’
5 (plural that) [relative pronoun] Used to introduce a defining clause, especially one essential to identification:
5.1Instead of ‘which’, ‘who’, or ‘whom’: the woman that owns the place
More example sentences
  • We all hear about things that go on and generally it is the same people involved over and over.
  • After a few hours of working in silence I heard a sound that immediately awoke my mind.
5.2Instead of ‘when’ after an expression of time: the year that Anna was born
More example sentences
  • This was also the year that he began teaching both privately and as an occasional guest teacher at the Creative Music Studio.
  • You started writing this column about the time that I was diagnosed with cancer.
  • April 3rd 1996 changed our lives for ever, it is the day that we lost our son.

determiner (plural those /ðəʊz/)

Back to top  
1Used to identify a specific person or thing observed or heard by the speaker: look at that chap there how much are those brushes?
More example sentences
  • Next time you're looking at those pretty penguins, make sure you keep your distance.
  • All I could hear were the birds, a stream and the distant sounds of those sheep.
  • Every single one of those hornets is frenziedly furious and you're the cause of their ire.
1.1Referring to the more distant of two things near to the speaker (the other, if specified, being identified by ‘this’).
2Referring to a specific thing previously mentioned, known, or understood: he lived in Mysore at that time seven people died in that incident
More example sentences
  • You'll know that only one of those two groups mentioned Glasgow in their lyrics.
  • She couldn't say this was less significant than those incidents, because this was a new kind of pain too.
  • You want to take another look at the game and in particular those incidents.
3 [usually with clause] Used in singling out someone or something and ascribing a distinctive feature to them: I have always envied those people who make their own bread
More example sentences
  • The conversion was a formality in line with much of that which had gone before.
  • You never had a single advocate other than those paid for through legal aid.
  • If they don't fall asleep themselves, then those observing them certainly would.
4Referring to a specific person or thing assumed as understood or familiar to the person being addressed: where is that son of yours? I let him spend all that money on me Dad got that hunted look
More example sentences
  • This is the seat that he lost in one of those beautiful moments from previous elections.
  • She could feel those strong hands shifting her body so that she was facing him.
  • Had he been born with those strong muscles of his or had he somehow developed them when he was growing up?

adverb

[as submodifier] Back to top  
1To such a degree; so: I wouldn’t go that far
More example sentences
  • Over the last week Katharine and I would have done anything to hear snoring that loud again.
  • He does not even think he is that much better in the saddle than previously.
1.1Used with a gesture to indicate size: it was that big, perhaps even bigger
1.2 informal Very: I couldn’t get out of the house fast enough, I was that embarrassed!

conjunction

Back to top  
1Introducing a subordinate clause expressing a statement or hypothesis: she said that she was satisfied it is possible that we have misunderstood
More example sentences
  • Then he heard that bigger prawns were to be found in Libya, and set out immediately.
  • Someone observed that there is never any singing at the funeral of an atheist.
  • My observation is that only a small number of cars move from their spaces during the working day.
1.1Expressing a reason or cause: he seemed pleased that I wanted to continue
More example sentences
  • The reason for this is that getting a phone line installed in this area can take up to two years.
  • One of the major reasons for this is that I have been upset by a number of occurrences.
  • The reason given is that this area already contains a high proportion of affordable housing.
1.2Expressing a result: she was so tired that she couldn’t think
More example sentences
  • The result is that you pay too much tax in the months before your birthday and too little in the months after.
  • It's all over and above contract, but the result is that kids here tend to be a bit more respectful.
  • The result is that he resolves to return to his true calling: the writing of fiction.
1.3 [usually with modal] Expressing a purpose, hope, or intention: we pray that the coming year may be a year of peace I eat that I may live
More example sentences
  • They quickly offer their apologies, and hope and pray that their careers are not ruined.
  • We can only hope and pray that all troops are indeed home by Christmas.
  • It is hoped that those with plots at the graveyard will do a bit of cleaning up before the Mass.
2 [usually with modal] literary Expressing a wish or regret: oh that he could be restored to health

Origin

Old English thæt, nominative and accusative singular neuter of se 'the', of Germanic origin; related to Dutch dat and German das.

Usage

1 The word that can be omitted in standard English where it introduces a subordinate clause, as in she said (that) she was satisfied. It can also be dropped in a relative clause where the subject of the subordinate clause is not the same as the subject of the main clause, as in the book (that) I’ve just written (‘the book’ and ‘I’ are two different subjects). Where the subject of the subordinate clause and the main clause are the same, use of the word that is obligatory, as in the woman that owns the place (‘the woman’ is the subject of both clauses).2 It is sometimes argued that, in relative clauses, that should be used for non-human references, while who should be used for human references: a house that overlooks the park but the woman who lives next door. In practice, while it is true to say that who is restricted to human references, the function of that is flexible. It has been used for human and non-human references since at least the 11th century, and is invaluable where both a person and a thing is being referred to, as in a person or thing that is believed to bring bad luck. 3 Is there any difference between the use of that and which in sentences such as any book that gets children reading is worth having, and any book which gets children reading is worth having? The general rule in British English is that, in restrictive relative clauses, where the relative clause serves to define or restrict the reference to the particular one described, which can replace that. However, in non-restrictive relative clauses, where the relative clause serves only to give additional information, that cannot be used: this book, which is set in the last century, is very popular with teenagers but not this book, that is set in the last century, is very popular with teenagers. In US English which is generally used only for non-restrictive relative clauses.

Phrases

and all that (or and that)

informal And that sort of thing; and so on: other people depend on them for food and clothing and all that
More example sentences
  • My perception is that you really got into the protests and all that on that day when you tried to protect your mother and the film you had in your camera.
  • Sure people say that protests and all that are ineffective.

be all that

see all.

at that

see at1.

like that

1Of that nature or in that manner: we need more people like that don’t talk like that
More example sentences
  • If my mom was here she wouldn't let them talk to me like that, but since she isn't I have to deal with it.
  • I think she was being totally disrespectful and that it's not okay for her to talk to me like that.
2 informal With no preparation or introduction; instantly or effortlessly: he can’t just leave like that
More example sentences
  • It is an amazing thing, a man you have thought might be dead suddenly speaking to you just like that.
  • The statement was allowed to go just like that and no one even asked why the case was so.

not all that ——

Not very ——: it wasn’t all that long ago
More example sentences
  • First of all, I am not all that familiar with these ceremonial practices as I have never been involved in Indian religion.
  • So you get the idea that it was not all that simple.
  • Perhaps, he was not all that serious about it after all!

that is (or that is to say)

Used to introduce or follow a clarification, interpretation, or correction of something already said: androcentric—that is to say, male-dominatedconcepts He was a long-haired kid with freckles. Last time I saw him, that is
More example sentences
  • He was a genius - that is to say, a man who does superlatively and without obvious effort something that most people cannot do by the uttermost exertion of their abilities.
  • Recent web typography articles stress that good typography requires a vertical grid, that is to say a solid vertical rhythm achieved with a consistent, measured line-height.

that said

Even so (introducing a concessive statement): It’s just a gimmick. That said, I’d love to do it
More example sentences
  • All that said, I love your work and maybe I'll see you in San Diego next year.
  • Of course, that said, I would wholeheartedly support and help direct a gaming forum were it to be created.
  • All that said, the changes are much more sweeping than has been generally understood.

that's it

see it1.

that's that

There is nothing more to do or say about the matter.
More example sentences
  • You can't just throw out your cigarettes one day, wipe your hands and say that's that.
  • We're doing this because we were ordered to and that's that!
  • I have developed certain habits and that's that.

—— that was

As the specified person or thing was formerly known: General Dunstaple had married Miss Hughes that was
More example sentences
  • The popular history of Chennai that was Madras is just over 350 years old.

that will do

No more is needed or desirable.
More example sentences
  • I'm happy to wait, because he has given me his word and that will do for me.
  • He seems to think that as long as you pile on the songs, splatter the screen in bright colours and have lots of men with fluorescent white teeth gyrating with pretty women, that will do.
  • Listen to me Mac, two on the look-out posts, one guard and one criminal makes four, that will do!

Definition of that in:

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day flagitious
Pronunciation: fləˈdʒɪʃəs
adjective
(of a person or their actions) criminal; villainous