\ ˈwən(t)s How to pronounce once (audio) \

Definition of once

 (Entry 1 of 4)

1 : one time and no more rode a horse only once went skydiving once
2 : at any one time : under any circumstances : ever didn't once thank me
3 : at some indefinite time in the past : formerly was once a booming mining town
4 : by one degree of relationship first cousin once removed
once and for all
1 : with finality : definitively The team proved once and for all that they are the best.
2 : for the last time I'm telling you once and for all that I'm not going.
once in a while
: now and then spent most of their time at home, but went out once in a while



Definition of once (Entry 2 of 4)

: one single time : one time at least Please be on time this once.
at once
1 : at the same time : simultaneously
3 : both entry 2 at once funny and sad



Definition of once (Entry 3 of 4)

: that once was : former a once successful actor

Definition of once (Entry 4 of 4)

: at the moment when : as soon as Once she spoke, I recognized her.

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Synonyms for once

Synonyms: Adverb

Synonyms: Adjective

Synonyms: Conjunction

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Examples of once in a Sentence

Adverb I will repeat the question once. The play was performed only once. She didn't once thank me. He didn't look at me once. It was once done that way. A river once flowed through this canyon. It was once a booming mining town. Their music was once very popular. Noun I have tried Indian food more than once. Please be on time just this once. For once you seem to know what I'm talking about. Adjective the once child star is now a lawyer in the entertainment industry Conjunction Once she spoke, I recognized her. you should have stopped wrestling once you knew someone was getting hurt, not five minutes later
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb For instance, if Venusian rocks formed in the presence of water, that might suggest the planet was once able to support life. Natalie Hamilton, Smithsonian Magazine, "Will We Ever Send Humans to Venus?," 24 Feb. 2021 Unlike most products this Thailand business churns out — shower caps, ponchos and aprons — what the women are stitching together on the second floor will be used only once. Los Angeles Times, "From the first stitch to the final zip: The global journey of a COVID-19 body bag," 23 Feb. 2021 In fact, scientists think that those particular slopes were once a delta, where a river met the lake that turned into Jezero Crater and deposited layers of sediment onto both the shore and the lakebed. Rahul Rao, Popular Science, "See Mars through Perseverance’s eyes," 23 Feb. 2021 In 2021, that figure has been under 1,000 only once, last Monday, Feb. 15. Chris Wilson, Time, "U.S. Death Toll From COVID-19 Passes the 500,000 Mark," 22 Feb. 2021 Some women, like Judith Mawson — who was once married to the Green River Killer — also struggle to date again. Lydia Wang, refinery29.com, "In A Way, Tell Me Your Secrets Is Based On Countless True Stories," 22 Feb. 2021 But still there is power in remaining in the public eye, and as sure as the Rams were once in Cleveland, stranger things have happened. Dom Amore, courant.com, "Dom Amore: Don’t sweat it, Whalers fans, the wearing of the green only means Hartford’s hockey team will never be forgotten," 22 Feb. 2021 For a Europe that was once again on the brink of war, the light at the end of this film was both hopeful and weirdly melancholy. Alison Willmore, Vulture, "The 101 Greatest Endings in Movies History," 22 Feb. 2021 Also, remember that the ground often thaws as the hunt progresses, which means what was once solid during setup may be soup later in the day. Joe Weimer, Outdoor Life, "7 Surefire Ways to Ruin Your Spring Snow Goose Hunt," 22 Feb. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Survivor was a once in a lifetime opportunity, being an attorney could wait! Dalton Ross, EW.com, "Survivor Quarantine Questionnaire: Brooke Struck on surviving crocodile attacks in Guatemala," 18 Feb. 2021 In many newsrooms, including at the once staunchly anti-union Los Angeles Times, journalists have organized in order to gain a degree of control over their lives. Robin Kaiser-schatzlein, The New Republic, "The Artist Isn’t Dead," 4 Jan. 2021 The upside of it is that you may be rewarded with a once in a lifetime buck that has probably never seen a human being. Hal Blood, Outdoor Life, "3 Great Places to Take a Stand in the Big Woods," 10 Nov. 2020 Several governors, including Andrew Cuomo of the once hotspot New York, have decided to ignore the CDC’s guidelines, sticking with previous testing advice. Sara Kiley Watson, Popular Science, "The CDC’s new COVID-19 testing guidelines could make the pandemic worse," 27 Aug. 2020 The wayward beluga was captured on video by Gone Whale Watching owner and boat captain Domenic Biagini who flew a drone to get the once in a lifetime shot. Alex Fox, Smithsonian Magazine, "In a Rare Sighting, Wayward Beluga Spotted Off San Diego," 16 July 2020 The second-year quarterback completed 10 of 13 passes for 113 yards, led two scoring drives in three series of action and once again showed play-making ability with his feet. Dave Birkett, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Lions' stock watch: Rookie LB Jalen Reeves-Maybin a bright spot," 25 Aug. 2017 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective RHP Dean Kremer, Orioles: Kremer, 25, has found velocity, turning the once jack-of-many-trades type projection into a solid mid-rotation projection. Gabe Lacques, USA TODAY, "MLB's 100 Names You Need To Know For 2021," 22 Feb. 2021 Mandy Moore, his once-girlfriend, expressed her excitement for him, as did Valderrama’s longtime friend Avril Lavigne and former co-star Eiza González. Lydia Wang, refinery29.com, "Wilmer Valderamma & Fiancé Amanda Pacheco Are Expecting First Child," 21 Dec. 2020 Over the last few decades, its once majority of white workers were replaced with immigrants who together speak more than 80 languages. Los Angeles Times, "A tale of two cities: the cautious refugees hit by COVID-19 and those who call it a hoax and refuse masks," 18 Dec. 2020 Coming out in the midst of a Vatican corruption scandal dominating Italian headlines for months, the film provided a nostalgic profile of a once globe-trotting papacy that in some ways ended with COVID-19. Nicole Winfield, Anchorage Daily News, "Fiasco intensifies over pope’s quote endorsing same-sex civil unions," 23 Oct. 2020 Over the past two decades plus there's been an incredible amount of amazing horror programming that has totally changed the landscape of how viewers enjoy the once niche genre. Rosie Knight, refinery29.com, "When Did TV Get So Scary? 21 Horror Shows That Took Us From From Teen Drama To Abject Terror," 24 Sep. 2020 Weeds now wind through the paving stones at the once grand entrance. Ruth Eglash, Washington Post, "Once an oasis of peace, Jericho now fears Israeli annexation," 29 June 2020 Brazil meanwhile were beaten by hosts France in the last 16; a disappointing but not unexpected finish from a once world class squad. SI.com, "England vs Brazil Preview: Where to Watch, Live Stream, Kick Off Time & Team News," 4 Oct. 2019 And Michigan's gone through spring drills without a clear answer of who will realistically be the front-runner once summer begins. Nick Baumgardner, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan football's Shea Patterson still competing despite unclear situation," 12 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'once.' 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 once


12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1620, in the meaning defined above


1747, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for once

Adverb, Noun, Adjective, and Conjunction

Middle English ones, from genitive of on one

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Time Traveler for once

Time Traveler

The first known use of once was in the 12th century

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Statistics for once

Last Updated

26 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Once.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/once. Accessed 3 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for once



English Language Learners Definition of once

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: one time only
: at any one time
: at some time in the past



English Language Learners Definition of once (Entry 2 of 3)

: one single time

English Language Learners Definition of once (Entry 3 of 3)

: at the moment when : as soon as


\ ˈwəns How to pronounce once (audio) \

Kids Definition of once

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : one time only It happened just once.
2 : at some time in the past : formerly It was once done that way.
3 : at any one time : ever She didn't once thank me.
once and for all
: now and for the last time That should solve the problem once and for all.
once in a while
: from time to time I play golf once in a while.



Kids Definition of once (Entry 2 of 3)

: one single time We can make an exception just this once.
at once
1 : at the same time I can't understand with both of you talking at once.
2 : immediately sense 2 Leave at once.

Kids Definition of once (Entry 3 of 3)

: as soon as : when Once you've finished your homework, you may go outside.

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More from Merriam-Webster on once

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for once

Nglish: Translation of once for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of once for Arabic Speakers

Comments on once

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