Definition of think in English:

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Pronunciation: /θɪŋk/

verb (past and past participle thought /θɔːt/)

1 [with clause] Have a particular belief or idea: she thought that nothing would be the same again (be thought) it’s thought he may have collapsed from shock [with infinitive]: up to 300 people were thought to have died
More example sentences
  • I have no idea why she would think that associating with those people is a good thing.
  • But nobody thinks that idea worth fighting a war over.
  • But at their recent meeting, members said they thought the situation was getting better.
believe, be of the opinion, have as one's opinion, be of the view, be under the impression;
expect, imagine, anticipate;
surmise, suppose, conjecture, guess, fancy;
conclude, determine, reason
informal reckon
North American informal figure
formal opine
archaic ween
deem, judge, hold, reckon, consider, presume, estimate;
regard as, view as
1.1Used in questions to express anger or surprise: what do you think you’re doing?
1.2 (I think) Used in speech to reduce the force of a statement, or to politely suggest or refuse something: I thought we could go out for a meal
More example sentences
  • So with dinner in mind and a recent chat to people in Spain, I think a small sherry is in order.
  • The very fact that we have moved beyond the age of deference supports my case I think.
  • Tonight is my last night in Preston for a while so I am going for a few pints and a curry I think.
2 [no object] Direct one’s mind towards someone or something; use one’s mind actively to form connected ideas: he was thinking about Colin Jack thought for a moment [with object]: any writer who so rarely produces a book is not thinking deep thoughts
More example sentences
  • With this in mind, let us think for a moment about the surface of a sphere.
  • Natural selection did not design our minds to think directly about how best to pass on our genes.
  • I just sat in my chair for a few moments, my mouth silent, my mind thinking.
ponder, reflect, deliberate, meditate, contemplate, muse, cogitate, ruminate, be lost in thought, be in a brown study, brood;
concentrate, rack one's brains, cudgel one's brains
informal put on one's thinking cap, sleep on it
rare cerebrate
2.1Have a particular mental attitude or approach: he thought like a general [with complement]: one should always think positive
More example sentences
  • And we have to have an educational approach, which thinks in these kinds of terms.
  • You imagine the worst by thinking negatively without good reason.
  • You tend to imagine the worst by thinking negatively and torturing yourself endlessly today!
2.2 (think of/about) Take into consideration when deciding on a possible action: you can live how you like, but there’s the children to think about
More example sentences
  • We need to think of possible legal complications in all sorts of routine situations.
  • Make sure you have thought of the possible gains and losses if you took the leap.
  • The tendency is to take what he wants, and act as he wants without thinking of the possible effect on others.
2.3 (think of) Call to mind: lemon thyme is a natural pair with any chicken dish you can think of
More example sentences
  • But for me, these remembrances are the best way I can think of to give you a sense of an age long gone.
  • If you can think of an animal, the likelihood is it would be made into a rug somewhere in the house, with its head mounted on the walls.
  • I can think of some cases where a marina actually adds to the beauty and charm of a place.
recall, remember, recollect, call to mind, bring to mind, think back to, review
2.4 (think of/about) Consider the possibility or advantages of (a course of action): he was thinking of becoming a zoologist
More example sentences
  • Recently, I've been thinking of doing a course with the Open University - which is probably a good thing to do.
  • Now I am about to start a clinical doctorate I am thinking of doing an art course.
  • If you are thinking about setting up a course then you should think through these issues.
2.5 (think to do something) Have sufficient foresight or awareness to do something: I hadn’t thought to warn Rachel about him
More example sentences
  • Sadly for me, nobody ever thought to test the damn thing on the Firth of Clyde on a Tuesday.
  • There was a timber yard next door and someone thought to test the process on pine.
2.6Imagine or expect (an actual or possible situation): think of being paid a salary to hunt big game! [with clause]: I never thought we’d raise so much money
More example sentences
  • Of course not and just think of the massive amount of money we would gain and how much red tape we would lose.
imagine, picture, visualize, envisage, envision;
dream about, fantasize about
2.7 (think oneself into) Imagine what it would be like to be in (a position or role): she tried to think herself into the part of Peter’s fiancée
More example sentences
  • Novelists have been keen to think themselves into the position of the victims (though because they relish the danger and are spared the death, the morality of the effort remains questionable).
  • On top of that we had to think ourselves into how the character feels.
  • Unlike Gwyneth Paltrow in Sliding Doors (a spiritually similar film) who was called upon to play essentially the same character twice, here Mitchell has to think herself into two spaces completely.
3 [no object] (think of) Have a specified opinion of: she did not think highly of modern art what would John think of her? I think of him as a friend
More example sentences
  • She told him that in her opinion very few people thought of her a lady.
  • He has not hazarded an opinion of what he thinks of the subject of his study, the bizarre chain of consequences he unleashed and the political context of these new developments.
  • Hope you enjoyed the above and I would be interested to see what anyone else thinks of my opinions and whether you agree or disagree.


[in singular] informal
An act of thinking: I went for a walk to have a think
More example sentences
  • Anyway, we had a think in the office but were stumped for specific local Melbourne myths.
  • She was very upset but she very quickly stopped crying and had a think.
  • So I had a little think and a bit of a search to check and came up with this list.
ponder, muse, spell/period of deliberation/reflection/contemplation



have (got) another think coming

informal Used to express the speaker’s disagreement with or unwillingness to do something suggested by someone else: if they think I’m going to do physical jerks, they’ve got another think coming
More example sentences
  • If we think - despite what I've said about us being better than last year - if we think even for a moment that we are good enough with the present squad to win the championship next season, then we will have another think coming.
  • If you thought the ethnic game, which held in thrall several generations, had paled into insignificance in the wake of the popularity of spectacle sports such as cricket and football, you have another think coming.
  • That may satisfy some people suffering from Frankenfood fixation, but if they think proud British eco-warriors are going to be put off by the facts, they have another think coming…

think again

Reconsider something: the advisory committee must think again about its approach
More example sentences
  • If they thought that there would be a news blackout on their actions they must now think again.
  • If it does turn out that truth is stranger than your fiction, you must think again.
  • Politicians who have issued intemperate attacks on the apathy of the young must think again.

think aloud

Express one’s thoughts as soon as they occur: no definite proposal, my dear chap—just thinking aloud
More example sentences
  • ‘They'll probably be chasing us as soon as they can start their cars,’ she thought aloud.
  • The general has thought aloud about his ‘alternative dream’ and gone ahead with the construction of Gwadar deep-sea port.
  • Sterling, speaking to a crowd at the Microsoft Campus, thought aloud about the problem.

think (the) better of

1Decide not to do (something) after reconsideration: he turned to shoot, then thought better of it
More example sentences
  • You think better of the prank and decide to avoid certain detention.
  • This turns out to be one of those jobs that you don't think better of until it's way too late.
  • Later, thinking better of how this would look, they put the documents back in the box, put gloves on, and staged photographs of themselves opening the box properly.
have second thoughts about, think twice about, think again about, change one's mind about;
reconsider, decide against
informal get cold feet about
2Form a better opinion of: his lie would not make us think better of him
More example sentences
  • I always think better of a person who is willing to admit error than one who tries to pin the blame on subordinates.
  • I for one will think better of him if he is a crook.
  • If she had thought better of her brother then she might have thought it was planned that way.

think big

see big.

think fit

see fit1.

think for oneself

Have an independent mind or attitude: the aim is to get the students to think for themselves
More example sentences
  • Like the best of teachers, Sontag stirs the imagination, ultimately encouraging readers to engage their minds and think for themselves.
  • Help is fine when needed but we do not want these young minds not to think for themselves.
  • It's the paradox of pedagogy: how to teach students to think for themselves.

think nothing of

Consider (an activity others regard as unusual, wrong, or difficult) as straightforward or normal: ordinarily, our elected representatives would think nothing of spending another $20 billion
More example sentences
  • He thinks nothing of resorting to adolescent activity when his mother's Steuben egg and his father's Porsche are damaged and tries to cover this up by turning the home into a brothel.
  • She thinks little of seeking vengeance for wrongs, tripping out on magic mushrooms and, in an especially lovely moment of controlled atmosphere, engaging in a spot of Ouija board shenanigans.
  • Sometimes the disjunction is so severe that the patient thinks nothing of even severing a part of the body, like the famous painter Van Gogh who chopped off his ears.
consider normal, consider usual, consider routine, take in one's stride, not think twice about;
have no problems with, have no compunction about, have no hesitation about

think nothing of it


think on one's feet

see foot.

think twice

Consider a course of action carefully before embarking on it: she would think twice about accepting a job where smoking was the norm
More example sentences
  • Of course, once I thought twice about holiday math, I realized that 16.7 percent of all days occur during November and December.
  • In my pocket, I'm picking at one corner of the envelope, thinking twice about giving it to him, even thinking twice about taking the thing out of my pocket.
  • And should parents think twice before enrolling their children on scuba courses?

think the world of

see world.

Phrasal verbs


think back

Recall a past event or time: I keep thinking back to school
More example sentences
  • I think back to the past and recall that it is the table at which we used to discuss politics or at which I wrote my first book.
  • Barden thinks back through the past few years and it is easy to spot the games they should have won and the opportunities missed.
  • Just think back to this past summer and the drama surrounding Taylor's decision to step down.

think on

dialect & North American Think of or about: I think on her every day in my prayers
More example sentences
  • Your point should be a revelation to those who would think on what you have said.
  • If you ever consider going into business for yourself, think on this.
  • As boys came into her mind for a change, she thought on the dark-eyed guy that had been at the stables.

think something out (or through)

Consider something in all its aspects before taking action: the plan had not been properly thought out
More example sentences
  • Every aspect of the house has been thought out in great detail, but for Eleanor the most appealing benefits are the views.
  • Many suggestions were thought out and considered as hours flew by with still no real progress.
  • There were some last-minute additions to the program, but they weren't thought out properly.

think something over

Consider something carefully: he told the player to go home and think over his offer
More example sentences
  • I studied the sweet counter intently, selecting a range of my favourite goodies, counting up the pennies, thinking it over carefully.
  • ‘At the end of the season, I will think things over carefully and decide whether I should ever bowl again,’ he added.
  • Let us suppose, for the sake of argument, that this guard did in fact stop to think things over carefully.
consider, contemplate, deliberate about, weigh up, consider the pros and cons of, mull over, ponder, reflect on, muse on, ruminate on

think something up

informal Use one’s ingenuity to devise something: Nick went away to think up an alternative plan
More example sentences
  • Maybe I'll be the one who brings it before you because I have thought it up, dreamed of it.
  • Whoever thought this crazy policy up should be seeking alternative employment.
  • It's such a weird contrivance, I keep wondering who thought it up.
devise, dream up, come up with, invent, create, concoct, contrive, improvise, make up;
hit on


Old English thencan, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch and German denken.

  • The Old English word think is related to thank (Old English) ( see also star) and thought (Old English). Hasty words can land you in trouble, and there is a traditional saying that warns you how to avoid this. Think first and speak afterwards goes back to the 16th century. Another proverb, great minds think alike, dates from the 17th century. They think it's all over, used as the title of a British TV sports quiz, is an extract from one of the most famous sports commentaries ever. Towards the end of extra time in the 1966 World Cup final between England and West Germany, with England leading 3–2, some spectators spilled on to the pitch as England attacked, thinking that the final whistle had blown. The TV commentator Kenneth Wolstenholme said, ‘They think it's all over’, whereupon Geoff Hurst scored and he continued ‘It is now!’ A think tank is now a body of experts providing ideas, but it was originally a US slang term for the brain, recorded from 1905. A newspaper report in 1964 said that ‘Truman…hoped to live to be 90 but only “if the old think-tank is working”.’ The modern sense appeared in the 1950s. The phrase (on) second thoughts dates from the mid 17th century; lost in thought is early 19th-century; it's the thought that counts is recorded from the 1930s.

Words that rhyme with think

bethink, blink, brink, cinque, clink, dink, drink, fink, Frink, gink, ink, interlink, jink, kink, link, mink, pink, plink, prink, rink, shrink, sink, skink, slink, stink, sync, wink, zinc

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: think

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