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

Idioms are generally defined as groups of words that form a meaningful whole when they come together, even though the words in them do not make sense on their own. They have produced many idioms according to their own cultural characteristics in communities using the English language. What does Through thick and thin mean? In what situations is Through thick and thin used?

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

From One Language to Another: Idioms in Translation

Translating idioms from one language to another can be a tricky task, as the cultural context behind an idiom can be difficult to capture. For example, the French phrase "avoir le cafard" translates to "to have the cockroach," which means to feel down or depressed. Similarly, the Chinese idiom "????" (j?ng d? zh? w?) translates to "frog at the bottom of a well," which refers to someone with a narrow view of the world.


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