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

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 Zantac was once the best-selling drug in the world. Michele Cohen Marill, Wired, "The FDA Announces Two More Antacid Recalls Due to Cancer Risk," 10 Jan. 2020 Live ‘streaming Why: The sleek silver Airstream trailer once was a symbol of lives constantly on the move. Scott Craven, azcentral, "Arizona's coolest campsites: How to book an Airstream, a bubble tent or an alpaca farm," 10 Jan. 2020 Vision Quest is once again seeking a church’s help to open a shelter for migrant children, this time New Covenant Family Church in Schertz, but that effort was rejected by the Universal City Planning & Zoning Commission on Monday night. Jeff B. Flinn, ExpressNews.com, "Officials once again reject effort to open San Antonio area migrant shelter for boys," 8 Jan. 2020 Despite the height of summer setting, Moira and David decide to revive the Christmas skit that was once a Rose family tradition. Jon O'brien, Billboard, "The 10 Best 'Schitt's Creek' Music Moments," 7 Jan. 2020 There was once a road leading seven miles inland, a ferry service and an airfield operating a single weekly flight. National Geographic, "Logging is corrupting these islands. One village fights back—and wins.," 3 Jan. 2020 Shuri Castle was once the capital of the Ryukyu Kingdom, which was an independent island nation until its annexation by Japan in 1879. Theresa Machemer, Smithsonian Magazine, "Volunteers Digitally Revive Japan’s Shuri Castle Following October Fire," 3 Jan. 2020 Scott initially built his wealth as CEO of Columbia/HCA, which was once one of the largest private for-profit healthcare companies in the country, before being charged in a mass fraud case. Natasha Bach, Fortune, "The Wealthiest Members of Congress—And How They Made Their Millions," 31 Dec. 2019 It is often featured on travel bucket lists as an experience to have at least once in your lifetime. Anquanette Gaspard, Essence, "7 Soca Filled Events That Should Be On Your Radar in 2019," 30 Dec. 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 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

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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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

13 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Once.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/once%20in%20a%20while. Accessed 18 January 2020.

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More Definitions for once

once

adverb
How to pronounce once (audio)

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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