until

preposition
un·til | \ ən-ˈtil , -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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about until

Statistics for until

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for until

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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 \

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.

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on until

What made you want to look up until? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

alleviating pain or harshness

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!