What does the idiom "Through thick and thin" mean?

You are wondering about the meaning of the phrase Through thick and thin, maybe you heard it in a TV show, movie or theater play. Although this idiom is not used very often, it enriches your capacity of expression and strengthens communication. In which case is the expression Through thick and thin used and what is its meaning?

Meaning of "Through thick and thin"


Through thick and thin is an idiom that is used to describe unconditional support and loyalty in a situation, no matter how difficult or trying it is. Despite any hardships or obstacles that may arise, the phrase implies that you will remain faithful to the cause or person.


This idiom can be traced back to the early 13th century. The phrase "thick or thin" was used in Middle English as a way to describe a situation, state, or manner of being, depending on the context.

The earliest known use of the phrase in its idiom form is attributed to William Langland’s Piers Plowman, a 14th-century poem written in a Middle English dialect. In the writing, the phrase describes an ideal Christian life in which a person should "nevere sey nay, but take his cross and folwen Christe thurgh thikke and thurgh thinne."


The phrase is often used when referring to relationships such as friendships, marriages and family ties, to show commitment and dedication to those relationships, no matter what troubles may arise. It can also be used in a professional setting when referring to one's commitment to a position, mission or job.

Generally, the phrase conveys a sense of unwavering loyalty and support in a particular situation. It is also frequently used metaphorically to refer to a situation in which someone stands by their principles, even in the face of opposition or adversity.

Example Sentences

  • My parents have been together through thick and thin for almost 30 years.
  • We've been with this company through thick and thin. We won't give up now.
  • When times get tough, we must stand together through thick and thin.
  • He believes in his political views, standing by them through thick and thin.

The meanings of the words in the "Through thick and thin" idiom

Beyond the Literal: Figurative Language in Idioms

Idioms often use figurative language to convey a message that is not meant to be taken literally. For instance, the idiom "bite the bullet" means to endure a painful or difficult situation without complaint, while "hold your horses" means to be patient and wait. Other idioms, like "kick the bucket" or "pop your clogs," use euphemisms to talk about death.


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