Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • intransitive v. Archaic It seems to me.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • It seems to me.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • It seems to me; I think. See me.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • It seems to me; it appears to me. See me and think.

Etymologies

Middle English me thinkes, from Old English mē thyncth : , to me; see me + thyncth, it seems; see tong- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From me (object pronoun = "to me") + think (from Old English þyncan). In Early Modern English, used at least 150 times by William Shakespeare; in Middle English by Geoffrey Chaucer, me thinketh; and in Old English by Alfred the Great, me þyncþ. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Greenwich methinks is an extremely "/nasty/" place; but we had good cold chicken and strawberries.

    New Letters and Memorials of Jane Welsh Carlyle

  • You do not thank me for using your rival so scurvily nor are not jealous of him, though your father thinks my intentions were not handsome towards you, which methinks is another argument that one is not to be one's own judge; for I am very confident they were, and with his favour shall never believe otherwise.

    Letters from Dorothy Osborne to Sir William Temple (1652-54)

  • "To play at Shuttlecock methinks is the game now," says a character in The Two Maids of More Clacke, written by Robert Armin in 1609.

    Letters from Dorothy Osborne to Sir William Temple (1652-54)

  • Prince Ptolemy, farewell, and of thee will I make mention, even as of the other demigods; and a word methinks I will utter not to be rejected of men yet unborn, -- excellence, howbeit, thou shalt gain from Zeus.

    Theocritus Bion and Moschus Rendered into English Prose

  • Now Bedford would not you have had that made into a locket? the tale methinks is no bad companion for your Fathers dream. was the exploit of Mr Burnett is far beyond that of St Withold [11] — tho by the by he met the Nine foals into the bargain. & they made a bargain

    Letter 165

  • Whether the church must preside over gay weddings is a different issue – one, methinks, which is best left to a case-by-case basis.

    2008 June « shattersnipe: malcontent & rainbows

  • They took him, and led him, and brought him, which methinks is like that concerning Saul (1 Sam. xv.

    Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume V (Matthew to John)

  • One option to mitigate this is for the VC industry to manage its own decline (which is why Paul floated the Cartel word methinks) but I think it will do so in a more Darwinian manner.

    broadstuff

  • Somewhat similarly, for all speakers except those who have consulted dictionaries, the archaic expression methinks is probably interpreted as the equivalent of I think, instead of the historically accurate It seems to me.

    VERBATIM: The Language Quarterly Vol V No 1

  • That said, with this latest story, "methinks" we need to revisit our care and feeding of children.

    Licensing to Love for Parents and Wannabes

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Comments

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  • When Ernest sets out to collect a word
    However unlikely he'll not be deterred.
    The problem, methinks,
    Is Ernest, he drinks,
    And then he'll believe the completely absurd.

    For more on the peculiar credulity of Ernest Bafflewit see cahot.

    April 19, 2014

  • Example on matagrabolise.

    May 11, 2010

  • "I must to the barbers mounsieur, for methinks I am marvellous hairy about the face."
    Shakespeare, A Midsummer Nights' Dream
    (odd spellings are Will's, not mine)

    September 24, 2009

  • "This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England..."

    *weejies*

    December 22, 2008

  • "One of the better speeches..."! As if most of Will Shakespeare's speeches were rather ho-hum.

    December 22, 2008


  • But it does begin one of the better speeches in Shakespeare: (which we had to memorize in high school)

    Methinks I am a prophet new inspired,
    And thus expiring do foretell of him:
    His rash fierce blaze of riot cannot last,
    For violent fires soon burn out themselves;
    Small showers last long, but sudden storms are
    short;
    He tires betimes that spurs too fast betimes;
    With eager feeding food doth choke the feeder:
    Light vanity, insatiate cormorant,
    Consuming means, soon preys upon itself.

    This royal throne of kings, this sceptered isle,
    This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars,
    This other Eden, demi-paradise,
    This fortress built by Nature for herself
    Against infection and the hand of war,
    This happy breed of men, this little world,
    This precious stone set in the silver sea,
    Which serves it in the office of a wall,
    Or as a moat defensive to a house,
    Against the envy of less happier lands,
    This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this
    England,
    This nurse, this teeming womb of royal kings,
    Fear'd by their breed and famous by their
    birth,
    Renowned for their deeds as far from home,—
    For Christian service and true chivalry,—
    As is the sepulchre in stubborn Jewry
    Of the world's ransom, blessed Mary's Son:
    This land of such dear souls, this dear, dear land,
    Dear for her reputation through the world,
    Is now leas'd out,—I die pronouncing it,—
    Like to a tenement, or pelting farm:
    England, bound in with the triumphant sea,
    Whose rocky shore beats back the envious siege
    Of watery Neptune, is now bound in with shame,
    With inky blots, and rotten parchment bonds:
    That England, that was wont to conquer others,
    Hath made a shameful conquest of itself.
    Ah! would the scandal vanish with my life,
    How happy then were my ensuing death.

    (John of Gaunt; Richard II, Act II, Scene 1)

    December 22, 2008

  • Thay again?

    December 20, 2008

  • Methinketh not thath ofthen, rolig.

    (Wow, it's hard to say.)

    December 19, 2008

  • Thanks for the excellent explanation, Qroqqa!
    C_b, I was going to say that it shouldn't be used except facetiously, but then when I thought about it, I realized that even the facetious use of this word makes me groan. I want to ask, "You couldn't come up with anything better than that to make your ironic/facetious point?!"
    Do people today really use "methinketh"? Oh, dear.

    December 19, 2008

  • Methinks this is one bizarre Wordie page.

    December 19, 2008

  • Quirky case is the best name ever.

    December 19, 2008

  • The verb is originally a different one, meaning "seem", probably related to the ordinary 'think'; they were distinct in OE but fell together in ME, thus giving all the reanalysis of the grammar. The verb meaning "seem" was normally impersonal: it thinks me = it seems to me.

    The 'me' was indeed dative, but as the verb was usually 3rd singular (-s, -th) it's dubious whether it was subject of the verb. (Dative subjects are common in Icelandic, and the phenomenon is called quirky case.)

    The other archaic survival, 'meseems', illustrates the structure a bit more clearly, since 'methinks' is liable to be (mis)interpreted as "I think", whereas 'meseems' is unmistakably "it seems to me".

    December 19, 2008

  • I think in speech it's acceptable if used ironically. In writing, depending on how formal/informal... I mean, on a blog? Who gives a f$%#?

    Agree that it's affectatious when used in seriousness. It seems to require a tweed blazer with suede elbow patches, gray hair (though little of it, if possible), and arrogance.

    I meant, "isn't 'methinketh' even worse?"

    December 19, 2008

  • As for "me thinketh", that just reflects the older 3rd person singular form: our modern -s 3rd per. sg. ending derived from -eth.

    December 19, 2008

  • I wasn't saying the word was cutesy in the 16th century or earlier. But to use it today is cutesy, not to mention affectatious. What's interesting to me about the OED's citations are those from the 17th and 18th centuries for the past tense form, where the writers are using "methoughts". This shows that even by that time, this word was no longer standard, since they are adding the present tense ending to a past tense form. In 21st speech and writing, "methinks", "methought", and, God help us, "methoughts", should all be avoided.

    December 19, 2008

  • rolig, here's all the OED stuff on it, if it helps. :) Seems like it has a long history of usage. So if it is cutesy, it's only because we (living in this modern era) have made it so.

    What do you think of "me thinketh"?

    Now arch., poet., and regional.
    impers. (Used with subordinate clause or parenthetically.)

    a. In the present tense: ‘it seems to me’.

    eOE ÆLFRED tr. Boethius De Consol. Philos. (Otho) xxiv. 54 Me inc æt hit hæbbe geboht sume swie leaslice mære. lOE ÆLFRED tr. St. Augustine Soliloquies (Vitell.) I. 61 Eare me inc eah myd scepe perh. read scipe on drigum lande to farande onne me ynce mid am eagum butan ara gesceadwisnesse ænigne creft to geleornianne. a1225 (?c1175) Poema Morale (Lamb.) 5 in R. Morris Old Eng. Homilies (1868) 1st Ser. 161 Vnnet lif ich habbe iled and et me ing ilede. c1275 Owl & Nightingale (Calig.) 1649 Me unch at ir forleost at game. c1330 (c1250) Floris & Blauncheflur (Auch.) 42 He nis no marchaunt, as me inkez. a1393 GOWER Confessio Amantis (Fairf.) IV. 2785 With such gladnesse I daunce and skippe, Me thenkth I touche noght the flor. 1447 O. BOKENHAM Lives of Saints 2 And yet me thinkyth it were pete That my werk were hatyd for me. 1533 T. MORE Debellacyon Salem & Bizance in Wks. (1557) 951/1 Me thinketh it somwhat more ciuilytye..a litle merely to mok him, then..seriouslye to preace vpon him. 1577 B. GOOGE tr. C. Heresbach Foure Bks. Husb. I. f. 10, There is a Hopper (mee thinketh) ouer the toppe of the Oast. 1593 R. HOOKER Of Lawes Eccl. Politie IV. iv. 177 When they oppose their Me thinketh vnto the orders of the Church of England. 1607 S. HIERON Wks. I. 439 Me thinketh this motiue should not be without effect. a1770 T. CHATTERTON Goddwyn in Poems (1777) 188 Mee thynkethe, Wee bee notte yn Englyshe Londe. 1866 Catholic World Feb. 622/2 But methinketh, sir, there are two things which, wise and learned as you are, you are yet ignorant of, and these are a woman's heart and a Catholic's faith.
    c1330 (?c1300) Guy of Warwick (Auch.) 613 He of mi loue vnder-nome were..Me enke y no myt it him nout werne. a1400 (a1325) Cursor Mundi (Vesp.) 16332 Me thinc it es noght sua. 1488 (c1478) HARY Actis & Deidis Schir William Wallace (Adv.) I. 385 It war resone me think he suld haif part. 1564 W. BULLEIN Dial. against Fever Pestilence f. 12, Me thinke I see twoo men in long gounes, with short beardes at the gates. 1659 Gentleman's Calling V. x, So dismal a consequent, as, methink, should like Lot's wife, remain a perpetual monument to deter others. 1720 C. SHADWELL Sham Prince IV. 184 Methink I long to know what sort of Women your Good-for-nothings are? 1796 J. COTTLE Poems 91 Methink I hear some frowning Warrior say, ‘With such unmanly thoughts, away! away!’ 1898 T. HARDY Wessex Poems 191 Ha, hago away! 'Tis a tale, methink, Thou joker Kit!
    a1375 William of Palerne 431 Me inkes, bi his menskful maneres & his man-hede, at he is kome of god kin. 1560 P. WHITEHORNE tr. N. Macchiavelli Art of Warre (1573) 103 b, Nor me thinkes that there resteth other to tell you then certaine general rules. 1600 SHAKESPEARE Much Ado about Nothing III. ii. 15 Me thinkes you are sadder. 1661 A. MARVELL Corr. in Wks. (1875) II. 76 'Tis methinks an unpleasant business. 1711 R. STEELE Spectator No. 6 5 Respect to all kind of Superiours is founded methinks upon Instinct. 1780 H. WALPOLE Vertue's Anecd. Painting (ed. 2) IV. vii. 135 Methinks a strait canal is as rational at least as a mæandring bridge. 1863 N. HAWTHORNE Our Old Home I. 166 Methinks a person of delicate individuality..could never endure to lie buried near Shakespeare. 1871 R. ELLIS tr. Catullus Poems xciii. 1 Lightly methinks I reck if Caesar smile not upon me. 1908 L. M. MONTGOMERY Anne of Green Gables xxxiv. 391 Anne, methinks I see the traces of tears. 1991 M. NICHOLSON Martha Jane & Me (1992) viii. 72 They are only jealous, methinks.
    1530 E. CROME in J. Strype Eccl. Mem. (1721) III. App. X. 20 And my think that this manner of praying dooth not dysanull..purgatorye. a1625 J. FLETCHER Mad Lover II. iii, in F. Beaumont & J. Fletcher Comedies & Trag. (1647) sig. C/1, My thinks madam, A Gentleman should keepe his word. 1699 R. COCKS Diary 4 Jan. in Parl. Diary (1996) 11 Mythinks it is a great hardship to be reckoned a traitour for only adhering to ones naturall prince. 1707 S. CENTLIVRE Platonick Lady IV. 47 No I thank you Zir, my Belly's full evads, my thinks this is a huge vine House.
    a1616 SHAKESPEARE All's Well that ends Well (1623) II. iii. 251 Meethink'st thou art a generall offence, and euery man shold beate thee.
    b. In the past tense: ‘it seemed to me’.

    OE Old Eng. Hexateuch: Gen. (Claud.) xxxvii. 7 Me uhte æt we bundon sceafas on æcere & æt min scef arise & stode upprihte. a1225 (c1200) Vices & Virtues 13 And if ic nadde, me uhte at hit nas naht wel betowen, ar ic hit idon hadde. a1400 (a1325) Cursor Mundi (Gött.) 8171 Me thoght a1400 Vesp. me thoght to night on is-kyn wise, at we war bath in paradise. c1500 (?a1475) Assembly of Gods (1896) 343 Me thought he was gayly dysgysyd at that fest. 1535 Bible (Coverdale) Judges vii. 13 Me thoughte a baken barlye lofe came rollinge downe to ye hoost of ye Madianites. 1651 H. MORE Enthusiasmus Triumphatus (1656) 309, I dream'd thus. Methought I was at a friends house in the rode betwixt London and Scotland. 1715 POPE Temple of Fame 42 While thus I stood..One came, methought, and whisper'd in my Ear. 1832 TENNYSON Dream Fair Women xx, in Poems (new ed.) 127 At last methought that I had wandered far In an old wood. 1878 H. PHILLIPS Poems from Span. & Ger. 48 Methought my days were ended. 1939 J. JOYCE Finnegans Wake 403 Methought..I heard at zero hour as 'twere the peal of vixen's laughter among midnight's chimes. 1944 Publ. Amer. Dial. Soc. II. 19 Methought, I thought. This old form is rare, but is still heard here and there. Methinks is not heard. 1958 I. MURDOCH Bell (1984) xii. 160 Me thought it was impossible that all manner of things should be well.
    1503 S. HAWES Example of Vertu iv. 3 My thought it was an heuenly syght. 1621 M. WROTH Countesse of Mountgomeries Urania 435 Then my thought I saw he had commission.
    a1616 SHAKESPEARE Rich. III (1623) I. iv. 9 Me thoughts that I had broken from the Tower. 1620 H. WOTTON Let. to Sir E. Bacon in Reliq. (1651) 413 The draught of a Landskip on a piece of paper, me thoughts masterly done. 1673 F. KIRKMAN Unlucky Citizen 181, I had..coyned several new English Words, which were onely such French Words as methoughts had a fine Tone wieh them. 1711 J. ADDISON Spectator No. 63 ¶3 Methoughts I was transported into a Country that was filled with Prodigies. 1751 Female Foundling I. 30 The inward Satisfaction which I felt, had spread in my Eyes I know not what of melting and passionate, which methoughts I had never before observed.

    December 19, 2008

  • You guys are reading this word wrong. It's "meth-inks," which refers to the spasmodic, overly-complicated wee-hour scribblings of speed-riddled tweakers.

    December 18, 2008

  • My mother used to say this word when I was growing up (back in the 1960s), which was curious because I was very much into reading Arthurian romances (especially the collection by Sidney Lanier) where the characters were always saying, "Methinks,..." Ultimately, I came to the conclusion that my mother's usage probably derived from 1940s women's college slang.

    Personally, I don't like "methinks"; it's much too cutesy-quaintsy for me. Having said that, however, I find myself wondering what this word actually means. Considering its 3rd-person singular form (the ending -s) and objective form of the pronoun (dative, perhaps), I gather that this meant originally not: "In my opinion" or "My view is that", but "The idea occurs to me that...": "It thinks to me..." Such passive impersonal constructions are widespread, by the way, in Russian and other Slavic languages.

    December 18, 2008

  • Methinks penduluming is mehoping will die a slow, painful medeath.

    December 18, 2008

  • Medoesn't know what to think about that.

    December 18, 2008

  • mehopes "methinks" is penduluming back into popularity.and that "mehopes" catches on.as well as penduluming.

    December 18, 2008

  • I find it's just kind of pretentious if used by other one other than Hamlet or Alex (from A Clock Work Orange)

    December 18, 2008

  • But punky, you hate moist more.

    December 18, 2008

  • A lovely gem, it always gets a smile when tossed into banter randomly.

    December 18, 2008

  • i don't know if i could possibly hate another word more than this one.

    December 18, 2008

  • "I think"

    August 22, 2008