Webster 1913 Edition



Anything unknown, undetermined, or not specifically designated; a certain indefinite thing; an indeterminate or unknown event; an unspecified task, work, or thing.
There is
in the wind.
The whole world has
to do,
to talk of,
to wish for, and
to be employed about.
Has earned a night’s repose.
A part; a portion, more or less; an indefinite quantity or degree; a little.
yet of doubt remains.
of it arises from our infant state.
I. Watts.
A person or thing importance.
If a man thinketh himself to be
, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.
Gal. vi. 3.


In some degree; somewhat; to some extent; at some distance.
fear my father's wrath.
We have
fairer play than a reasoner could have expected formerly.
My sense of touch is
It must be done to-night,
from the palace.

Webster 1828 Edition



[some and thing.]
An indeterminate or unknown event. Something must have happened to prevent the arrival of our friends at the time fixed. I shall call at two o'clock, unless something should prevent. [See Thing.]
A substance or material thing, unknown indeterminate or not specified. A machine stops because something obstructs its motion. There must be something to support a wall or an arch.
A part; a portion more or less. Something yet of doubt remains. Still from his little he could something spare, to feed the hungry and to clothe the bare. Something of it arises from our infant state.
A little; an indefinite quantity or degree. The man asked me a dollar, but I gave him something more.
Distance not great. It must be done tonight, and something from the palace.
Something is used adverbially for in some degree; as, he was something discouraged; but the use in not elegant.

Definition 2024



See also: -something




  1. An uncertain or unspecified thing; one thing.
    I must have forgotten to pack something, but I can't think what.
    I have something for you in my bag.
    I have a feeling something good is going to happen today.
    • 2013 June 28, Joris Luyendijk, Our banks are out of control”, in The Guardian Weekly, volume 189, number 3, page 21:
      Seeing the British establishment struggle with the financial sector is like watching an alcoholic who still resists the idea that something drastic needs to happen for him to turn his life around.
  2. (colloquial, of someone or something) A quality to a moderate degree.
    The performance was something of a disappointment.
    That child is something of a genius.
    • 1898, Winston Churchill, chapter 5, in The Celebrity:
      Then came a maid with hand-bag and shawls, and after her a tall young lady. She stood for a moment holding her skirt above the grimy steps, with something of the stately pose which Richter has given his Queen Louise on the stairway, and the light of the reflector fell full upon her.
  3. (colloquial, of a person) A talent or quality that is difficult to specify.
    She has a certain something.
  4. (colloquial, often with really or quite) Somebody or something who is superlative in some way.
    He's really something! I've never heard such a great voice.
    She's quite something. I can't believe she would do such a mean thing.


  • (unspecified thing): sth (especially in dictionaries)

Derived terms



Related terms


something (not comparable)

  1. Having a characteristic that the speaker cannot specify.
    • 1986, Marie Nicole, Foxy Lady, ISBN 0373053150, page 20:
      "Very poetic." They came to a halt before the outer door. "It's very something," Rusty said wistfully. "How do you do it?"
    • 1988, Colleen Klein, A Space for Delight, page 200:
      "It's very — it's very something," said Lucy. "It's a kind of love-letter, isn't it?"
    • 2014, Sommer Nectarhoff, A Buck in the Snow, ISBN 1500823449:
      If it isn't large, I certainly can't say it's small. But it's very something.
    • 2015, Edward Carey, Lungdon, ISBN 1471401669:
      'How proud they have become,' I said, 'how disobedient. I must say, all in all, it's very something.'


something (not comparable)

  1. (degree) Somewhat; to a degree.
    The baby looks something like his father.
    • 1922, Ben Travers, chapter 5, in A Cuckoo in the Nest:
      The most rapid and most seductive transition in all human nature is that which attends the palliation of a ravenous appetite. There is something humiliating about it.
  2. (degree, colloquial) To a high degree.
    • 1913, Eleanor H. Porter, Pollyanna, page 51:
      You can't thrash when you have rheumatic fever – though you want to something awful, Mrs. White says.
    • 1994 Summer, Rebecca T. Goodwin, “Keeper of the house”, in Paris Review, volume 36, number 131, page 161:
      Seeing him here, though, I all of a sudden feel more like I been gone from home three years, instead of three weeks, and I miss my people something fierce.
    • 2001 January, Susan Schorn, “Bobby Lee Carter and the hand of God”, in U.S. Catholic, volume 66, number 1, page 34:
      And then she put the coffin right out on her front porch. Jim told everyone he'd built it kind of roomy since Bobby Lee was on the stout side, but that it better get used quick because sycamore tends to warp something terrible.

Derived terms


Most common English words before 1923: among · done · days · #212: something · gave · asked · soon


something (third-person singular simple present somethings, present participle somethinging, simple past and past participle somethinged)

  1. Applied to an action whose name is forgotten by, unknown or unimportant to the user, e.g. from words of a song.
    • 1890, William Dean Howells, A Hazard of New Fortunes
      He didn’t apply for it for a long time, and then there was a hitch about it, and it was somethinged—vetoed, I believe she said.
    • 2003, George Angel, “Allegoady,” in Juncture, Lara Stapleton and Veronica Gonzalez edd.
      She hovers over the something somethinging and awkwardly lowers her bulk.
    • 2005, Floyd Skloot, A World of Light
      Oh how we somethinged on the hmmm hmm we were wed. Dear, was I ever on the stage?”


something (plural somethings)

  1. An object whose nature is yet to be defined.
    • 2013 June 8, The new masters and commanders”, in The Economist, volume 407, number 8839, page 52:
      From the ground, Colombo’s port does not look like much. []   But viewed from high up in one of the growing number of skyscrapers in Sri Lanka’s capital, it is clear that something extraordinary is happening: China is creating a shipping hub just 200 miles from India’s southern tip.
  2. An object whose name is forgotten by, unknown or unimportant to the user, e.g., from words of a song. Also used to refer to an object earlier indefinitely referred to as 'something' (pronoun sense).
    • 1999, Nicholas Clapp, The Road to Ubar
      What was the something the pilot saw, the something worth killing for?
    • 2004, Theron Q Dumont, The Master Mind
      Moreover, in all of our experience with these sense impressions, we never lose sight of the fact that they are but incidental facts of our mental existence, and that there is a Something Within which is really the Subject of these sense reports—a Something to which these reports are presented, and which receives them.
    • 2004, Ira Levin, The Stepford Wives
      She wiped something with a cloth, wiped at the wall shelf, and put the something on it, clinking glass.