of·ten | \ˈȯ-fən, nonstandard ˈȯf-tən \

Definition of often 

: many times : frequently are often puzzled and sometimes annoyed by the ways of other peoples— W. A. Parker

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Examples of often in a Sentence

They go out to dinner fairly often. How often do you call your mother? The condition often returns even after treatment with antibiotics. I often take a walk during my lunch break. He travels more often than I do. The disease is diagnosed most often in children. They seem to be getting into arguments more and more often. It's not often that I get to enjoy a day off. Water the plants often enough to keep the soil moist.
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Recent Examples on the Web

How to Present an Authentic Self at Work as a Woman Female entrepreneurs and successful professionals are often faced with two choices: either accept the status quo or focus on breaking down barriers. Emily Cassidy /, NBC News, "In the Know: Women in the news 7/9-7/13," 13 July 2018 Three of the boys and their coach are ethnic minorities and stateless, having fled from Myanmar to Thailand, where such immigrants often face poverty and discrimination. Robyn Dixon, latimes.com, "Tears flow as Thai boys and parents see each other for first time since cave rescue," 11 July 2018 What used to be a one- to two-hour wait for those without appointments often now takes four or more. Michael Cabanatuan, SFChronicle.com, "DMV investigates startup that has disrupted appointment process," 11 July 2018 The Senate often takes such test votes as a way to build momentum for eventual binding legislation. Erik Wasson / Bloomberg, Time, "Senate Approves Symbolic Resolution in Attempt to Curb President Trump's Mounting Tariffs," 11 July 2018 Downtown Indianapolis is often taken over by conventioneers, but few have the pageantry and style of Gen Con, the annual gaming convention. Sarah Bahr, Indianapolis Star, "Ultimate Indiana bucket list: 50+ things to do in Indianapolis and around the state," 11 July 2018 Veterans from these counties often face obstacles in transportation and technology, which makes finding and staying connected with a lawyer difficult. Fleming Smith, ajc, "UGA’s School of Law opens free legal clinic for veterans," 9 July 2018 Previously, prosecutors focused on repeat offenders, and asylum seekers and families caught crossing went through the immigration system to determine whether they would be allowed to stay in the country but often did not face criminal charges. Kate Morrissey, Anchorage Daily News, "Illegal border crossings decrease for the first time in 2018," 7 July 2018 When the funeral is over, the thank-you cards are written, and the parent's clothes are eventually put away or donated, the caregiver often faces not just lingering sadness but an uncomfortable void. Barry J. Jacobs, sandiegouniontribune.com, "What to do when caregiving finally ends," 6 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'often.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of often

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for often

Middle English, alteration of oft

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Statistics for often

Last Updated

8 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for often

The first known use of often was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for often



English Language Learners Definition of often

: many times : on many occasions


of·ten | \ˈȯ-fən \

Kids Definition of often

: many times : frequently I think of him often.

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Comments on often

What made you want to look up often? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to reject or criticize sharply

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