First Name
in the U.S.
since 1880
Last Name
in the U.S.
in 2010
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How to Pronounce They

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Meaning and Origin

What does the name They mean? Find out below.

Origin and Meaning of They

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Webster's Unabridged Dictionary
pronoun They
The plural of he she, or it. They is never used adjectively, but always as a pronoun proper, and sometimes refers to persons without an antecedent expressed.

Note: They is used indefinitely, as our ancestors used man, and as the French use on; as, they say (French on dit), that is, it is said by persons not specified.

Etymology: Icel. þeir they, properly nom. pl. masc. of þat, a demonstrative pronoun, akin to the English definite article, AS. seó ðæt, nom. pl. ðā. See That


From Middle English thei, borrowed in the 1200s from Old Norse þeir, nominative plural masculine of the demonstrative , which acted as a plural pronoun. It displaced native Old English , hīe (“they”) — which vowel changes had left indistinct from he (“he”) — by the 1400s, being readily incorporated alongside similar native words beginning with the same sound (the, that, this).

The Norse term (whence also Icelandic þeir (“they”), Faroese teir (“they”), Swedish de (“they”), Norwegian Nynorsk dei (“they”)) derives from Proto-Germanic *þai (“those”) (from Proto-Indo-European *to- (“that”)), whence also Old English þā (“those”; whence obsolete English tho), Scots thae, thai, thay (“they; those”).

Used as a singular pronoun since 1300, for example in the 1325 Cursor Mundi (which uses þer).

From earlier the'e, from there.


they was also found in the following language(s): Middle English

Fun Facts about the name They

  • When was the first name They first recorded in the United States? The oldest recorded birth by the Social Security Administration for the name They is Sunday, May 31st, 1914.
  • How unique is the name They? From 1880 to 2017 less than 5 people per year have been born with the first name They. Hoorah! You are a unique individual.
  • Weird things about the name They: Your name in reverse order is Yeht. A random rearrangement of the letters in your name (anagram) will give Yeht. How do you pronounce that?

What Theys Have Visited This Page?

Past life for They born Feb 7, 1933

I do not know how you feel about it, but you were a female in your last earthly incarnation. You were born somewhere around the territory of Korea approximately on 750. Your profession was entertainer, musician, poet, and temple-dancer.

You were sane, practical person, materialist with no spiritual consciousness. Your simple wisdom helped the weak and the poor. You should develop your talent for love, happiness and enthusiasm and to distribute these feelings to all people.

Name poster for They

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  • Sources:
  • U.S. Census Bureau: Frequently Occurring Surnames from the Census 2000 (public domain).
  • 1913 Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary via the Collaborative International Dictionary of English (License)
  • Wiktionary: Titles and License.