\ 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 statementshe 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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb The Hurtigruten cruise line was one of the first companies to resume sailing during the pandemic, starting cruises to Norway out of northern Germany in June with a single ship, then adding cruises in July to the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard. Author: Jan Olsen, Anchorage Daily News, "Coronavirus outbreak hits cruise ship in Norway and may have spread to port towns," 3 Aug. 2020 In 1946, William Shawn, who was then the deputy to Harold Ross, the editor of The New Yorker, asked John Hersey to travel to Japan and write about the horrific aftermath. The New Yorker, "Sunday Reading: Hiroshima," 2 Aug. 2020 For many of those who live in Genoa, then, the opening of the new bridge is at best bittersweet. Gaia Pianigiani,, "As Genoa inaugurates new bridge, the feeling is bittersweet," 2 Aug. 2020 The question, then, is whether a hypothetical company that controlled 100% of the social media market could make more money by raising prices for advertisers by 5%—or, on the consumer side, perhaps by extracting 5% more data from users. Walter Frick, Quartz, "Don’t buy Mark Zuckerberg’s definition of Facebook’s competition," 1 Aug. 2020 Next up would then be the Los Angeles Clippers (44-21) and Philadelphia (39-26). oregonlive, "Portland Trail Blazers must replicate playoff intensity displayed Friday to meet challenges ahead," 1 Aug. 2020 Hong Kong’s protest movement was nearly three months old by then, and the police action marked a significant turning point. Timothy Mclaughlin, The Atlantic, "A Newsroom at the Edge of Autocracy," 1 Aug. 2020 If that’s so then the 2020 N.H.L. playoffs are like a defibrillator that has shocked the city’s rhythm back to life. Carol Schram, New York Times, "Edmonton, ‘City of Champions,’ Readies for a Hockey Marathon," 1 Aug. 2020 As in other cities, violent crime surged in Chicago in the 1960s and ’70s, dropped and leveled off, then spiked again during the 1990s. Mick Dumke, ProPublica, "Bill Barr Has Done This Before," 31 July 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective 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,, "Brexit Britain Is Forced to Confront Its Inglorious Past," 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, "Can tech save the kakapo, New Zealand's 'gorgeous, hilarious' parrot?," 26 Dec. 2019 By then students may have a new high school to move into. Mará Rose Williams, kansascity, "New project-based high school opens in the Park Hill district," 16 Aug. 2017

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.

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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

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Time Traveler for then

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for then

Last Updated

6 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Then.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for then


How to pronounce then (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of then

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: at that time : at the time mentioned
used to indicate what happened or happens next
used to indicate what should be done next



English Language Learners Definition of then (Entry 2 of 3)

: that time

English Language Learners Definition of then (Entry 3 of 3)

: existing at or belonging to the time mentioned


\ 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

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More from Merriam-Webster on then

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for then

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with then

Spanish Central: Translation of then

Nglish: Translation of then for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of then for Arabic Speakers

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