once

adverb
\ 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

once

noun

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

once

adjective

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

erstwhile, formerly, onetime

Synonyms: Adjective

erstwhile, former, late, old, onetime, other, past, quondam, sometime, whilom

Synonyms: Conjunction

as soon as, immediately [chiefly British], instantly, when

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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

In fact, many astronomers suspect Phobos was once an asteroid that Mars snatched up and then made its moon. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "NASA Takes Groundbreaking Photos of Mars' Weirdest Moon," 13 May 2019 When Calls the Heart actress Erin Krakow hinted that her character, Elizabeth Thatcher, could be ready to find love once more. Blair Donovan, Country Living, "'When Calls the Heart' Hints Elizabeth Thatcher Is Ready to Move on After Jack's Death," 12 May 2019 Tens of thousands of visitors returned once more to the annual Frieze New York art fair on Randall’s Island last weekend, where a sprawling white tent complex pops up like a mirage. Kyle Chayka, WSJ, "At Art Fairs, the Chairs Are Just as Considered as the Art," 7 May 2019 And Vanessa has also expressed her skepticism of stepping into Gabriella Montez’s shoes once more. De Elizabeth, Teen Vogue, "Zac Efron Says He'd Consider a Cameo on "High School Musical: The Musical: The Series"," 27 Apr. 2019 Indeed, what was once a stark-white corner storefront is now ornamented with boxwood topiaries and a zig-zag pattern—borrowed from the regimental tie of the Royal Artillery—covers the exterior awnings and the interior floors and walls. Zachary Weiss, Vogue, "At the New Rowing Blazers Flagship, a Champagne-Fueled House Party Raged," 3 May 2019 Viewers will also get to see the breathtaking Wormsloe Historic Site, which was once the estate of Noble Jones, one of Georgia's colonial founders. Jennifer Aldrich, Country Living, "Hallmark's 'Love Takes Flight' Was Filmed in a Gorgeous Southern Town You Can Visit," 27 Apr. 2019 Where there was once only one trendy toothpaste brand (h/t to you, Marvis), a whole slew of new oral-care brands are emerging for the Glossier era. Jessica Radloff, Glamour, "Kendall Jenner Wants You to Instagram Your Toothpaste," 24 Apr. 2019 With its heartbreaking season four finale on April 17, The Magicians has proved once again to be one of the most innovative risk-takers in modern television all the while punching us right in the feels. Gabe Bergado, Teen Vogue, ""The Magicians" Finale Just Pulled Off Its Most Heart-wrenching Risk Yet," 18 Apr. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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

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

Adverb

12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

1620, in the meaning defined above

Conjunction

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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More Definitions for once

once

adverb

English Language Learners Definition of once

 (Entry 1 of 3)

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

once

noun

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

once

adverb
\ 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.

once

noun

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

Spanish Central: Translation of once

Nglish: Translation of once for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of once for Arabic Speakers

Comments on once

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