Definition of item in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈīdəm/


1An individual article or unit, especially one that is part of a list, collection, or set: the items on the agenda an item of clothing
More example sentences
  • Anyone wishing to donate saleable items to the auction can contact any of the following members to arrange collection.
  • Rate the following items on a scale of 1 to 5.
  • Hannah paced through the busy crowds towards a small shop that sold every item of clothing under the sun.
thing, article, object, artifact, piece, product;
element, constituent, component, ingredient
1.1A piece of news or information.
Example sentences
  • Yesterday, I saw an item on CNN Headline News that made me look around the net for some details.
  • When a story like this is promoted to the lead item on national news bulletins, you know that all perspective has gone out of the window.
  • Neither the news item nor the editorial contain much more than anecdotes.
report, story, account, article, piece, write-up, bulletin, feature
1.2An entry in an account.
Example sentences
  • The company has found a hole in its accounts relating to the way it has accounted for certain revenue items.
  • Certainly, it might seldom be possible to find repair costs as a separate item in the accounts.
  • The item appearing on the account will be queried by the credit card provider with a view to recouping the cost.
couple, twosome, partners, lovers
informal thing


Used to introduce each item in a list: item two statute books ... item two drums


be an item

informal (Of a couple) be involved in an established romantic or sexual relationship.
Example sentences
  • The couple, who've been an item for 12 years, have their musical roots in Long Island.
  • We were an item but it wasn't an all-consuming relationship and some people may have wondered how interested he really was.
  • We were an item from that day on, but because we were living in different cities it started quite casually - seeing each other once or twice a week.


Late Middle English (as an adverb): from Latin, 'in like manner, also'. The noun sense arose (late 16th century) from the use of the adverb to introduce each statement in a list.

  • Originally item was used to introduce each new article or particular in a list or document. In Shakespeare's Twelfth Night Olivia mocks attempts to shower her with exaggerated praise: ‘[My beauty] shall be inventoried and every particle and utensil labelled to my will, as, item, two lips, indifferent red; item, two grey eyes, with lids to them; item, one neck, one chin, and so forth.’ This use for ‘likewise, also’ reflects its source, Latin item ‘just so, similarly, moreover’. From there item started to refer to a statement or maxim of the type often introduced by the word ‘item’, then to an individual article or unit. A couple have been an item since around 1970, at first in the USA.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: i·tem

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