\ ˈt͟hen How to pronounce then (audio) \

Definition of then

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : at that time
2a : soon after that : next in order of time walked to the door, then turned
b : following next after in order of position, narration, or enumeration : being next in a series first came the clowns, and then came the elephants
c : in addition : besides then there is the interest to be paid
3a : as a necessary consequence if the angles are equal, then the complements are equal
b(1) : in that case take it, then, if you want it so much
(2) used after but to qualify or offset a preceding statement she lost the race, but then she never really expected to win
c : according to that : as may be inferred your mind is made up, then
d : as it appears : by way of summing up the cause of the accident, then, is established
and then some
: with much more in addition would require all his strength and then some



Definition of then (Entry 2 of 3)

: that time since then, he's been more cautious



Definition of then (Entry 3 of 3)

: existing or acting at or belonging to the time mentioned the then secretary of state

Examples of then in a Sentence

Adverb She lived in the Soviet Union, as it then was called. Just then he walked in. Back then, he was living in New York. Noun Since then, I've been more careful. He advised me to wait until then. They'll announce their decision next week. Until then, she'll just have to hope for the best. We should get there before then. They were friends from then on. Nothing like that had ever happened up to then. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb Quickly after a police officer arrived, Taylor drove out of the bank parking lot onto Emerson Avenue then began accelerating and weaving through traffic, according to investigators. Jake Allen, The Indianapolis Star, 14 May 2022 And then Jenner canned a feed from sophomore midfielder Katie Keller with seven-tenths of a seconds left. Edward Lee, Baltimore Sun, 13 May 2022 If law enforcement and prosecutors follow the letter of the law, then the protesters gathering outside the homes of Justices Brett Kavanaugh, Amy Coney Barrett, and Samuel Alito should be arrested and prosecuted. Damon Linker, The Week, 13 May 2022 Sheriff Gregory Tony said in a statement then that there had been delays in internal affairs due to Covid-19 restrictions. Phil Helsel, NBC News, 13 May 2022 To demonstrate how things have changed, in November 1953, then Governor Pyle made the rounds of the major radio stations and TV stations in giving his address to the residents of Arizona. Donna Reiner, The Arizona Republic, 13 May 2022 The Alaskan children generally sailed 700 miles to a Pacific port like Seattle, then moved 2,700 more miles by train to Carlisle. Jeff Gammage, Anchorage Daily News, 13 May 2022 To get the shield working, insert a 12-hour fuel cartridge and a four-hour repellant mat into the cylinder, then activate the cartridge to generate heat. Raena Loper, Good Housekeeping, 13 May 2022 The movie is told largely from Henry's perspective, following him in more chronological order than Clare, and then flashing back to her childhood. Emily Burack, Town & Country, 13 May 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun As soon as Lovato sat down with the then owners and learned about the building’s history, he was hooked. Brayden Garcia, Dallas News, 28 Jan. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Released on Japanese television at the end of the 90s, Neon Genesis Evangelion portrayed the then future of 2019 as a complex near apocalyptic tale. Ollie Barder, Forbes, 12 Dec. 2021 Sampaio began his political career while studying law at Lisbon University in the late 1950s, rising through the ranks of underground student movements which opposed the then dictatorship of António Salazar. Barry Hatton, ajc, 10 Sep. 2021 Belgium has never fully come to terms with its brutal 19th century rule of Congo, though a statue of the then ruler, King Leopold II, was removed in Antwerp this week. Alan Crawford,, 12 June 2020 In 2016, John Key, New Zealand's then prime minister, announced Predator Free 2050 -- an ambitious project to eradicate predators across the country. Sarah Lazarus, CNN, 26 Dec. 2019 By then students may have a new high school to move into. Mará Rose Williams, kansascity, 16 Aug. 2017 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'then.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of then


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


14th century, in the meaning defined above


1584, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for then


Middle English than, then then, than, from Old English thonne, thænne; akin to Old High German denne then, than, Old English thæt that

Learn More About then

Time Traveler for then

Time Traveler

The first known use of then was before the 12th century

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near then

the munchies



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Statistics for then

Last Updated

15 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Then.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for then


\ ˈt͟hen How to pronounce then (audio) \

Kids Definition of then

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : at that time People then believed in dragons.
2 : soon after that : next Go two blocks, then turn left.
3 : in addition : besides Then there are the dishes to wash.
4 : in that case Take it, then, if you want it so badly.
5 : as an expected result If you were there, then you must have seen me.



Kids Definition of then (Entry 2 of 3)

: that time Wait until then.



Kids Definition of then (Entry 3 of 3)

: existing or acting at that time the then president

More from Merriam-Webster on then

Nglish: Translation of then for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of then for Arabic Speakers


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