“Where art thou?” is a phrase that might seem confusing at first glance. It seems to use outdated English, and can be tricky to understand because of this fact. This article will fully explain what “where art thou?” means and where it comes from.
“Where art thou?” is used to talk about the fact that you can’t find someone. It’s written in old-school English, which is why it might be confusing at first glance. You can use this phrase if you want to say “where are you” in a dramatic way.
It’s also a good phrase to use to write dialogue that is somewhat outdated. Nowadays, people don’t usually use “where art thou?”, though that doesn’t mean it’s incorrect. Rather, it’s just uncommon.
Using “where art thou?” in a sentence is remarkably easy. You simply use it the same way you’d use the question’s modern equivalent: “Where are you?”. There is no practical difference in incorporating it into your sentences. Here are some examples:
- O brother, where art thou?
You could use the above sentence to question the location of your brother.
- O God, where art thou?
This phrase is also fairly common in the bible, you can find it in many bible verses. It has a connection to the divine because of this fact.
- O my friend, where art thou?
It’s just a fairly useful question when you can’t find someone, in this case, a friend.
The phrase “where art thou” in its modern use comes from the movie “Sullivan’s Travels”. In this 1941 film, the phrase is often used to talk about God and the divine. However, in its classic use, we can find the phrase in the works of William Shakespeare.
Plays such as “Hamlet”, “Macbeth” and “Romeo & Juliet” include the use of the phrase. However, the phrase does not originate with Shakespeare.
In fact, we can find this phrase in the bible, which is significantly more ancient. However, we don’t know the exact person who said it first, or where it first appeared.
“Where art thou?” is, at its core, a phrase that asks where someone is. The English language has plenty of ways to ask this same information. Therefore, “where art thou?” has plenty of synonyms that you can use. Here are some of these alternatives:
- Where are you?
- Where can I find you?
- Why can’t I find you?
- Why have you forsaken me?
- Why have you abandoned me?
There are many incorrect ways in which people use “where art thou?”. The most common one of these is when people think that “thou” means “them” and not “you”. Using “where art thou” to mean “where are they” is completely incorrect.
It’s easy to get confused, because “thou” is an old-fashioned word for “you”. It’s no longer in common use nowadays. This means that people get mixed up with “where art thou?”.
There is an immense variety of situations in which you can use “where art thou?”. If you’re looking for someone and you want to express it in a dramatic way. Alternatively, if you feel like you’ve been abandoned by someone. You can express this dramatic feeling of abandonment with the phrase.
In fact, a common use for “where art thou?” is people who feel abandoned by their God. This fits, because it’s a very dramatic phrase for that powerful feeling of abandonment.
Martin holds a Master’s degree in Finance and International Business. He has six years of experience in professional communication with clients, executives, and colleagues. Furthermore, he has teaching experience from Aarhus University. Martin has been featured as an expert in communication and teaching on Forbes and Shopify. Read more about Martin here.