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  Dictionary Definition of the

the [1]
def. art. a word used especially before nouns:
1. with a specifying or particularising effect (opposed to a or an ).
2. to mark a noun as indicating something well known or unique: the Alps, the earth.
3. with or as part of a title: the Duke of Wellington, the Reverend John Smith.
4. to mark a noun as indicating the best-known, most approved, or most important of its kind: the skiing centres of Europe.
5. to mark a plural noun as indicating an area typified by a particular type of geographical feature as specified: the hills ; the lakes.
6. to mark a noun as being used generically: the dog is quadruped.
7. in place of a possessive pronoun, to denote a part of the body or a personal belonging: to hang the head and weep.
8. before adjectives used substantively and denoting an individual, a class or number of individuals, or an abstract notion: to visit the sick.
9. distributively, to denote any one separately, where a or an is more commonly employed: at fifty cents the kilo.
10. to specify one of a class or type: did you see the television last night?
11. to denote sufficiency or enough of something: I don't have the money to buy a car.
[ME and OE, uninflected var. of demonstrative pronoun. See THAT ]