until

preposition
un·​til | \ ən-ˈtil How to pronounce until (audio) , -ˈtel; ˈən-ˌtil, -ˌtel, -tᵊl \

Definition of until

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 chiefly Scotland : to
2 used as a function word to indicate continuance (as of an action or condition) to a specified time stayed until morning
3 : before sense 2 not available until tomorrow we don't open until ten

until

conjunction

Definition of until (Entry 2 of 2)

: up to the time that : up to such time as play continued until it got dark never able to relax until he took up fishing ran until she was breathless

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till, 'til, or 'till?

People often ask which is the correct synonym of until: till, ’til, or ’till?

Many assume that till is an abbreviated form of until. Actually, it is a distinctive word that existed in English at least a century before until, both as a preposition meaning “to” and a conjunction meaning “until.” It has seen continuous use in English since the 12th century and is a perfectly legitimate synonym of until.

’Til and ’till are much newer words, having appeared in the language only in the 19th and 20th centuries, respectively. Both are variant spellings, either of until or of till. Writers of usage guides have roundly condemned ’till as a barbarism (apparently because it seems to have added a superfluous l to the end of until). ’Til, for its part, has been deemed inappropriate in formal writing.

To sum up: until and till can be used freely and interchangeably, but you will probably want to avoid ’till and use ’til advisedly.

Examples of until in a Sentence

Conjunction We played until it got dark. Keep going until I tell you to stop. I ran until I was breathless. Stay here until the danger has passed. Stir the dough until it forms a ball.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Preposition It was shown in court proceedings but could not be televised or shared online until after the trial and the not-guilty verdict, too late to bring public pressure to bear. John D'anna, The Arizona Republic, "'The trauma is real': As Chauvin verdict is read, Arizonans touched by violence see hope, but not enough yet," 21 Apr. 2021 Don't plant until after the date of the last frost, or you may be burned by a late snow again, Daniel said. London Gibson, The Indianapolis Star, "How the late snow could affect your plants — and how to protect them," 20 Apr. 2021 Unlike Keeho, Intak didn't get into skin care until after debuting. Devon Abelman, Allure, "P1Harmony May Be New to K-Pop, But They're Beauty Experts," 20 Apr. 2021 They are identified by juror number only; the judge ordered their names withheld until after the trial due to the high-profile nature of the case. Amy Forliti, chicagotribune.com, "12 jurors deliberating in the trial of Derek Chauvin are a racially diverse group," 19 Apr. 2021 Although cloud computing was first proposed in the 1960s, its wider popularization didn't start to take effect until after the millennium. Rob Tribe, Forbes, "DataBase-As-A-Service: A Vote For Data Democracy," 19 Apr. 2021 They are identified by juror number only; the judge ordered their names withheld until after the trial due to the high-profile nature of the case. Amy Forliti, Star Tribune, "The 12 jurors deliberating in the trial of Derek Chauvin," 19 Apr. 2021 The Super League waited until after recent elections of club presidents at Real Madrid and Barcelona to launch its plans. The Salt Lake Tribune, "Europe’s biggest soccer clubs announce plans for super league, but two prominent names are missing," 19 Apr. 2021 Individuals who did not have COVID-19 did not have a full immune response until after receiving their second vaccine, the study suggests. Julie Washington, cleveland, "Less than 1% of vaccinated people getting COVID-19; dogs trained to sniff out virus: Coronavirus update for Monday, April 19," 19 Apr. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'until.' 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 until

Preposition

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Conjunction

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for until

Preposition

Middle English, from un- (probably from Old Norse *und up to; akin to Old Norse unz up to, until, Old High German unt, Old English ende end) + til, till till

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Time Traveler for until

Time Traveler

The first known use of until was in the 13th century

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Statistics for until

Last Updated

23 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Until.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/until. Accessed 23 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for until

until

preposition

English Language Learners Definition of until

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: up to (a particular time)
used to indicate the time when something will happen, become true, etc.

until

conjunction

English Language Learners Definition of until (Entry 2 of 2)

: up to the time or point that

until

preposition
un·​til | \ ən-ˈtil How to pronounce until (audio) \

Kids Definition of until

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: up to the time of I worked until noon.

until

conjunction

Kids Definition of until (Entry 2 of 2)

: up to the time that Wait until I call.

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More from Merriam-Webster on until

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for until

Nglish: Translation of until for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of until for Arabic Speakers

Comments on until

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