of·​ten | \ ˈȯ-fən How to pronounce often (audio) , ˈȯf-tən How to pronounce often (audio) \

Definition of often

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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web Foreign firms are often on the wrong end of regulatory changes. The Economist, "Foreign firms in India Multinationals love India more than it loves them," 4 July 2020 His jokes were often inappropriate, but never unkind. Elizabeth Depompei, The Indianapolis Star, "A 'very kind' man: Mike Riley, prominent attorney and Hoosier political player, dies at 80," 3 July 2020 Now The thinking human is often two things: tech-averse and alone. Wired Staff, Wired, "WIRED’s Ultimate Summer Reading List," 2 July 2020 Under Ohio law, anyone convicted of a crime must pay court costs – which in criminal trials can often be thousands of dollars. Jeremy Pelzer, cleveland, "Judges need not consider defendants’ ability to pay when charging them for court costs, Ohio Supreme Court rules," 2 July 2020 Peers at school can sometimes be mean; and often there are conflicts within the Baby-Sitters Club itself. Hank Stuever, Washington Post, "Netflix’s fresh take on ‘The Baby-Sitters Club’ celebrates the best qualities of a new generation," 2 July 2020 First, the protests occurred outside while activities at bars, restaurants and parties often are inside, where air is recirculated and the virus may be more easily spread. Dan Horn, The Enquirer, "Protests probably didn't cause Hamilton County's recent coronavirus surge," 2 July 2020 At their best, pirate crews were often highly meritocratic. National Geographic, "Ahoy! It's the real pirates of the Caribbean—and the Carolinas," 2 July 2020 And truth be told, judging by government tactics during the protests, there often isn't much that separates the land of the free from other countries. Shikha Dalmia, TheWeek, "What makes America exceptional," 2 July 2020

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.

See More

First Known Use of often

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for often

Middle English, alteration of oft

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about often

Time Traveler for often

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for often

Last Updated

5 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Often.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/often. Accessed 9 Jul. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for often


How to pronounce often (audio) How to pronounce often (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of often

: many times : on many occasions


of·​ten | \ ˈȯ-fən How to pronounce often (audio) \

Kids Definition of often

: many times : frequently I think of him often.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on often

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for often

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with often

Spanish Central: Translation of often

Nglish: Translation of often for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of often for Arabic Speakers

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).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!