Definition of The:

part of speech: adjective

A word placed before nouns, or nouns preceded by adjectives, to point them out and limit their signi- fication; usually called the definite article, but is really a demonstrative adjective, and only a softened form of that; used before adjectives in the comparative and superlative degrees. Note.- In poetic compositions, the e in often cut of before a vowel thus, th, and also the he, as t'other.

Usage examples:

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A hard silicious sandstone composed of grains or fragments of different minerals; also the strata now known as Silurian. ...