1 of 4


: one time and no more
rode a horse only once
went skydiving once
: at any one time : under any circumstances : ever
didn't once thank me
: at some indefinite time in the past : formerly
was once a booming mining town
: by one degree of relationship
first cousin once removed


2 of 4


: one single time : one time at least
Please be on time this once.


3 of 4


: that once was : former
… contributions to enrich the legal resources of the once province of Britain.J. N. Pomeroy


4 of 4


: at the moment when : as soon as
Once she spoke, I recognized her.
once and for all
: with finality : definitively
The team proved once and for all that they are the best.
: 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
at once
: at the same time : simultaneously
: both entry 2
at once funny and sad

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 See More
Recent Examples on the Web
The refrigerated case that once held sausages and cuts of meat soon will host a rainbow of aguas frescas and to-go containers of salsas, while the taps will flow with beer and wine — a first for the local taqueria. Stephanie Breijo, Los Angeles Times, 26 Sep. 2023 Never afraid of stirring the pot, Chevy Chase has once again opened up about his abrupt departure from Community in 2012. Carita Rizzo, Rolling Stone, 26 Sep. 2023 China’s property industry once accounted for as much as 30% of the country’s gross domestic product. Laura He, CNN, 26 Sep. 2023 The actor's Scream Queens costars Lea Michele and John Stamos later interrogated him about the romance once again during a Facebook Live. Lydia Price, Peoplemag, 26 Sep. 2023 The state-of-the-art theater, once a source of immense collective pride, is now a poisonous wedge. Gary Baum, The Hollywood Reporter, 26 Sep. 2023 That thinking has once again brought us to a crisis. Heather Cox Richardson, The New Republic, 26 Sep. 2023 High value target Ivy Stryker of Farmington, Michigan, became a victim of the CAN bus attack not once but twice. Ash-Har Quraishi, Amy Corral, CBS News, 26 Sep. 2023 The house where Jamie Lee Curtis' character, Laurie Strode, once lived in fictional Haddonfield, Illinois, is up for sale for just shy of $1.8 million, listing agent Heidi Babcock of eXp Realty confirmed to PEOPLE. Erin Clack, Peoplemag, 10 Sep. 2023
Here are some highlights of ready-to-wear collections Thursday: GIVENCHY GETS FEMININE The once-street and urban Matthew M. Williams uttered a word not often heard describing his designs: Elegant. Thomas Adamson, ajc, 2 Mar. 2023 Continuing, Belloni pointed out that internal company data apparently suggests that stretching out the release cadence of Netflix shows to a weekly rollout, instead of an all-at-once drop, won’t meaningfully reduce subscriber churn. Andy Meek, BGR, 10 Sep. 2022 Taylor is a once in a generation artist and storyteller. Kathleen Walsh, Glamour, 9 Dec. 2022 Our memories of these spaces are bound up in their blaring, everywhere-at-once noise. K. Austin Collins, Rolling Stone, 24 Oct. 2022 And on Friday, multiple blogs and news sites declared an even bigger change is coming: A larger, maybe even a complete, shift away from the all-at-once-release of Netflix shows. Andy Meek, BGR, 10 Sep. 2022 One similarity between the Orca and an EV is the all-at-once, better-be-ready throttle response. Dan Neil, WSJ, 28 July 2022 The platform on at least two occasions has blocked Raichik’s ability to tweet - once for 12 hours in April, and then again for a week in a sanction that ends Saturday. Taylor Lorenz, Elizabeth Dwoskin and Peter Jamison, Anchorage Daily News, 3 Sep. 2022 The Chabad of Glencoe event celebrated what was a once in a lifetime opportunity for many to witness the completion of an inked Torah scroll. Karie Angell Luc, Chicago Tribune, 30 Aug. 2022
Her meeting with Bass' children comes weeks after the once boy band member alleged that Spears bailed on meeting his children after a request was made by her team to schedule a visit. Morgan Hines, USA TODAY, 25 July 2023 John Cheever, Joseph Heller, Doris Lessing, Chaim Potok and Ray Bradbury were among his clients, along with Katharine Graham, the once publisher of the Washington Post. J. Kim Murphy, Variety, 14 June 2023 The once fringe term, associated with the idea that AI poses an existential risk to humanity, is central to OpenAI’s mission and had been embraced by DeepMind, but was avoided by Google’s top brass. Gerrit De Vynck, Washington Post, 4 May 2023 In the three months since its inauguration, Netanyahu’s government — cobbled together with once-fringe ultranationalist and ultraconservative religious parties — has led to a period of national division and security crisis, defense officials say. Shira Rubin, Washington Post, 2 Apr. 2023 Gerardo Mora—Getty Images The Walt Disney Company’s once-grand plans for the metaverse have been quietly shelved, and the media and entertainment giant has joined other big companies in laying off employees dedicated to the technology, according to the Wall Street Journal. Marco Quiroz-Gutierrez, Fortune Crypto, 28 Mar. 2023 The once queen of Instagram is back. Lisa Respers France, CNN, 12 Jan. 2023 The once-rockstar software developer, instead of coding, spends the day managing the minutiae of the daily workflow. Jack Kelly, Forbes, 8 Mar. 2023 Elsewhere: Goldman Sachs is considering shrinking its consumer business, as the Wall Street giant all but admits defeat on its once-grand plans for expansive Main Street offerings. Wsj Staff, WSJ, 3 Mar. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'once.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Adverb, Noun, Adjective, and Conjunction

Middle English ones, from genitive of on one

First Known Use


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

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

Dictionary Entries Near once

Cite this Entry

“Once.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/once. Accessed 3 Oct. 2023.

Kids Definition


1 of 3 adverb
: one time only
will repeat the question once
: at any one time : ever
once you hesitate, it's too late
: at some time in the past : formerly
it was once done that way
: by one degree of relationship
cousin once removed


2 of 3 noun
: one single time
just this once


3 of 3 conjunction
: as soon as
once that is done, all will be well

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