Dictionary > English Dictionary > Definition, synonym and antonym of than
Meaning of than by Wiktionary Dictionary



    From Middle English than, thanne, from Old English þanne, a variant of þonne ( “then, since, because” ), from Proto-Germanic *þana ( “at that, at that time, then” ). Cognate with Dutch dan ( “than” ), German denn ( “than” ), German dann ( “then” ). More at then .


    • ( stressed ) enPR: thăn, IPA: /ðæn/, X-SAMPA: /D{n/
    • Rhymes: -æn
    • ( unstressed ) enPR: th( ə )n, IPA: /ðən/, /ðn̩/, X-SAMPA: /D@n/, /Dn=/



    1. ( obsolete, archaic or dialectal ) ( usually used with for ) Because; for.
    2. Used in comparisons, to introduce the basis of comparison .
      I'm taller than she is .
      She found his advice more witty than helpful .
      We have less work today than we had yesterday .
      It's bigger than I thought it was .



    1. introduces a comparison, and is associated with comparatives, and with words such as more, less, and fewer. Typically, it seeks to measure the force of an adjective or similar description between two predicates .
      Patients diagnosed more recently are probably surviving an average of longer than two years .

    Usage notes

    Usage prescriptionists have a number of rules concerning than. In formal grammar, than is not a preposition to govern the oblique case ( although it has been used as such by writers such as William Shakespeare, whose 1600 play Julius Caesar contains the line A man no mightier than thyself or me. . ., and Samuel Johnson, who wrote No man had ever more discernment than him, in finding out the ridiculous. ). Than functions as both conjunction and preposition; when it is used as a conjunction, it governs the nominative case, and when a preposition, the oblique case. To determine the case of a pronoun following "than", a writer can look to implied words and determine how they would relate to the pronoun .

    Examples :

    It must be noted that some prescriptionists insist that whom must follow than ( not who ); although according to the above rule, who would be the "correct" form. Critics of this often cite this mandatory exception as evidence that the prescriptionist rule is logically erroneous, in addition to it being inconsistent with well-established usage .


    than ( not comparable )

    1. ( Now chiefly dialectal ) At that time; then .



Definition of than by GCIDE Dictionary


  1. Than ( thăn ), conj. [OE. than, thon, then, thanne, thonne, thenne, than, then, AS. ðanne, ðonne, ðaenne; akin to D. dan, OHG. danne, G. dann then, denn than, for, Goth. þan then, and to E. the, there, that. See That, and cf. Then.] A particle expressing comparison, used after certain adjectives and adverbs which express comparison or diversity, as more, better, other, otherwise, and the like. It is usually followed by the object compared in the nominative case. Sometimes, however, the object compared is placed in the objective case, and than is then considered by some grammarians as a preposition. Sometimes the object is expressed in a sentence, usually introduced by that; as, “I would rather suffer than that you should want”.

    Behold, a greater than Solomon is here. Matt. xii. 42.

    Which when Beelzebub perceived, than whom,

    Satan except, none higher sat. Milton.

    It's wiser being good than bad;

    It's safer being meek than fierce;

    It's fitter being sane than mad. R. Browning.

  2. Than, adv. Then. See Then. [Obs.] Gower.

    Thanne longen folk to gon on pilgrimages. Chaucer.