1 of 4


: one time and no more
rode a horse only once
went skydiving once
: at any one time : under any circumstances : ever
didn't once thank me
: at some indefinite time in the past : formerly
was once a booming mining town
: by one degree of relationship
first cousin once removed


2 of 4


: one single time : one time at least
Please be on time this once.


3 of 4


: that once was : former
… contributions to enrich the legal resources of the once province of Britain.J. N. Pomeroy


4 of 4


: at the moment when : as soon as
Once she spoke, I recognized her.
once and for all
: with finality : definitively
The team proved once and for all that they are the best.
: 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
at once
: at the same time : simultaneously
: both entry 2
at once funny and sad

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
Recent Examples on the Web
Sea otters were once hunted for their fur, which is what lead to their dramatic decline, and they are now listed as a threatened species. Susanne Rust, Los Angeles Times, 29 May 2024 Most of the time, once outside in public, I get distracted by the drone that someone uses to monitor the landscape. Hazlitt, 29 May 2024
Here are some highlights of ready-to-wear collections Thursday: GIVENCHY GETS FEMININE The once-street and urban Matthew M. Williams uttered a word not often heard describing his designs: Elegant. Thomas Adamson, ajc, 2 Mar. 2023 Continuing, Belloni pointed out that internal company data apparently suggests that stretching out the release cadence of Netflix shows to a weekly rollout, instead of an all-at-once drop, won’t meaningfully reduce subscriber churn. Andy Meek, BGR, 10 Sep. 2022
The once caveat is that Delta 9 THC levels must be below 0.3%. Amber Smith, Discover Magazine, 3 Apr. 2024 Winners of six straight games, the Warriors effectively clinched the No. 10 seed in the Western Conference on Thursday night with a win over the Rockets, giving them a four-game lead and a tiebreaker over their once rivals with six games to play. Dieter Kurtenbach, The Mercury News, 5 Apr. 2024 See all Example Sentences for once 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'once.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Adverb, Noun, Adjective, and Conjunction

Middle English ones, from genitive of on one

First Known Use


12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1620, in the meaning defined above


1747, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of once was in the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near once

Cite this Entry

“Once.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/once. Accessed 13 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition


1 of 3 adverb
: one time only
will repeat the question once
: at any one time : ever
once you hesitate, it's too late
: at some time in the past : formerly
it was once done that way
: by one degree of relationship
cousin once removed


2 of 3 noun
: one single time
just this once


3 of 3 conjunction
: as soon as
once that is done, all will be well

More from Merriam-Webster on once

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