\ 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 But this Tuesday, one of Staley’s favored strategies — the face-to-face meeting — will at last be available once more. Alan Blinder, New York Times, 30 May 2021 As Americans take once more to the skies now that vaccinations are rising and reopening occurring, there was a fleeting hope that the giddy relief of post-pandemic casual travel would restore some civility to travel. Leslie Wu, Forbes, 30 May 2021 The Tigers had a chance to score in the sixth inning, but Cole escaped once more. With Schoop at first (after a groundout that wiped Candelario off the bases) with two outs, a wild pitch and passed ball moved him to third base. Evan Petzold, Detroit Free Press, 29 May 2021 Several years later, the deed was changed once more to let girls in, as well as children from disadvantaged backgrounds, not just orphans. Bob Fernandez, ProPublica, 29 May 2021 The woman was able to grab her daughter a second time before more officers arrived and, once more, separated the two. cleveland, 28 May 2021 The Sun went 2-0 without her, but the team’s 86-81 win Friday over the visiting Washington Mystics (2-4) showed once more why a Thomas that’s firing on all cylinders makes this 6-1 Connecticut team that much tougher to beat. Alexa Philippou, courant.com, 28 May 2021 Once the world opens up once more, thousands of Americans will travel to England to visit these gardens. Ursula Buchan, WSJ, 28 May 2021 And since the series signed off in 2004, fans have been wondering when they'd be reunited with their favorite friends once more. Jessica Radloff, Glamour, 27 May 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun In a once in a lifetime event, the night sky on Wednesday will be both the brightest and darkest ever seen. Ivan Pereira, ABC News, 23 May 2021 Originally used to provide horse stables for the once grander homes on surrounding streets, the Mews is currently a mishmash of 10 or so, now-pricey, two-story Victorian row homes. Howard Walker, Robb Report, 4 May 2021 This is a once in a generation opportunity to build school buildings that meet the needs of this century. BostonGlobe.com, 2 Apr. 2021 Just want to give that wrinkly dress of yours the once over? Popular Science, 5 Mar. 2021 For Andrea Berstler, operating a library during a pandemic has proven to a unique and a once in a lifetime experience. Yasmine Askari, baltimoresun.com/maryland/carroll, 8 Mar. 2021 The pandemic has presented us with a once in a lifetime opportunity to reimagine the future of retail, and retailers should grab it with both hands. Alliance Manchester Business School, Forbes, 24 Feb. 2021 Survivor was a once in a lifetime opportunity, being an attorney could wait! Dalton Ross, EW.com, 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, 4 Jan. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Growth is accelerating as the network effect has built on WhatsApp’s exodus, catapulting the once niche player into the majors. Zak Doffman, Forbes, 4 May 2021 Two grandchildren are also part of the once-family business. Adam Tschorn, Los Angeles Times, 7 May 2021 Exploration and production company shares are on fire, and debt and equity markets are reopening for the once downtrodden sector. Dan Eberhart, Forbes, 28 Apr. 2021 Tech will be at the heart of the once office-centric workplace and good communication will be key as companies make this transition. USA Today, 20 Apr. 2021 If Utah wants to keep the sellout streak humming this fall, there is the matter of the capacity going from 45,807 to 51,444 once construction of the Ken Garff Performance Zone is complete. Josh Newman, The Salt Lake Tribune, 13 Apr. 2021 As many as a third of Venezuelans in the once oil-rich nation were eating just one meal a day, according to a 2019 study. Ingrid Cotto, orlandosentinel.com, 8 Apr. 2021 His eyes were practically swollen shut, and his once-red comb was black — a possible sign, McKillop said, of loss of blood flow. Washington Post, 9 Feb. 2017 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, 22 Feb. 2021

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

2 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Once.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/once. Accessed 12 Jun. 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.

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


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