tithe (tīth)
n. 1) a) A portion of one's annual income contributed voluntarily or due as a tax, especially a contribution of one tenth of one's income for the support of the clergy or church. b) The institution or obligation of paying tithes. 2) A tax or assessment of one tenth. 3) a) A tenth part. b) A very small part.
v. tithed, tith·ing, tithes
v. tr. 1) To pay (a portion of one's income) as a tithe. 2) To levy a tithe on.
v. intr. To pay a tithe.
[Middle English, tithe consisting of a tenth part of one's goods or income, from Old English tēotha, tenth, tithe; see dekm̥.]
tith’a·ble (tī’thə-bəl) adj. tith’er n.
Word History: A tithe is a tenth, etymologically speaking; in fact, tithe is the old ordinal numeral in English. Sound changes in the prehistory of English are responsible for its looking so different from the word ten. Tithe goes back to a prehistoric West Germanic form *tehuntha-, formed from the cardinal numeral *tehun, "ten," and the same ordinal suffix that survives in Modern English as -th. The n disappeared before the th in the West Germanic dialect area that gave rise to English, and eventually yielded the Old English form tēothe, "tenth," still not too different from the cardinal numeral tīen. But over time, as the former became tithe and the latter ten, and as tithe developed the specialized meaning "a tenth part paid as a tax," it grew harder to perceive a relationship between the two. The result was that speakers of English created a new word for the ordinal, tenth, built with the cardinal numeral ten on the pattern of the other regularly formed ordinal numerals like sixth or seventh.

Word Histories. 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Tither — Tith er, n. 1. One who collects tithes. Milton. [1913 Webster] 2. One who pays tithes. [R.] Chaucer. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • tither — (n.) late 14c., agent noun from TITHE (Cf. tithe) (v.) …   Etymology dictionary

  • Tither — None of the much publicised dictionaries of Surnames offer this name at all. This is surprising as it clearly has the same origins as Titherington, a village and surname from the Cheshire region, and formerly part of the parish of Prestbury, but… …   Surnames reference

  • tither — noun Date: 14th century 1. one that pays tithes 2. one that collects or advocates the payment of tithes …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • tither — /tuy dheuhr/, n. 1. a person who gives or pays tithes, as to a church. 2. a person who advocates payment of tithes. 3. a person who collects tithes. [1350 1400; ME; see TITHE, ER1] * * * …   Universalium

  • tither — noun a) One who collects tithes. b) One who pays tithes …   Wiktionary

  • tither — n. tax collector who takes one tenth of citizens property or income (in order to support the Church) …   English contemporary dictionary

  • tither — hitter …   Anagrams dictionary

  • tither — tith·er …   English syllables

  • tither — tith•er [[t]ˈtaɪ ðər[/t]] n. 1) a person who gives or pays tithes, as to a church 2) a person who collects tithes • Etymology: 1350–1400 …   From formal English to slang

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