till

1 of 5

preposition

tᵊl,
təl,
ˈtil How to pronounce till (audio)
1
or 'til or less commonly til : until
2
chiefly Scotland : to

till

2 of 5

conjunction

tᵊl,
təl,
ˈtil How to pronounce till (audio)
variants or 'til or less commonly til
: until

till

3 of 5

verb

tilled; tilling; tills

transitive verb

: to work by plowing, sowing, and raising crops : cultivate

till

4 of 5

noun (1)

1
a
: a money drawer in a store or bank
also : cash register
b
: a box, drawer, or tray in a receptacle (such as a cabinet or chest) used especially for valuables
2
a
: the money contained in a till
b
: a supply of especially ready money

till

5 of 5

noun (2)

: unstratified glacial drift consisting of clay, sand, gravel, and boulders intermingled

Did you know?

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 till in a Sentence

Preposition We won't finish till next week. The event doesn't start till tomorrow. Conjunction They kept playing till it got dark. He spun around till he was dizzy. Verb The farmers are tilling the soil. farmers tilling the soil from sunup to sunset See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Verb
The old state seal of Minnesota depicts a white farmer tilling the soil, with a gun leaning against a nearby stump as a Native American riding a horse nearby looks in his direction. Mark Wasson, Twin Cities, 11 Jan. 2024 The old flag was criticized for its depiction of a Native American riding away on horseback while a white settler tilled a field. Anthony Bettin, CBS News, 19 Dec. 2023 Wearing overalls without the intention of, say, tilling soil or chopping logs opens the garment up to a world of style opportunity. Erika Veurink, Vogue, 1 Dec. 2023 If using cover crops, be sure to select one that can be killed by cold temperatures or mowing rather than tilling or herbicides. oregonlive, 7 Sep. 2023 Our ancestors tilled the earth, domesticated the beasts of the land, all in the hopes that one day, centuries hence, their descendants would be able to invent these spicy cheese puffs. Nena Farrell, WIRED, 11 Oct. 2023 The interviews revealed that the relic was initially discovered in 1962 by workers tilling a field, and that by 1964 it was broken in pieces. David Shortell Marian Carrasquero, New York Times, 23 Oct. 2023 In the meantime, volunteers with Friends of the Ballona Wetlands are tilling the soil and preparing to put in scores of new trees and plants to help with the environmental restoration. Erika D. Smith, Los Angeles Times, 20 Sep. 2023 Now that the picking has ended, Barnes will get back on his tractor and begin tilling under the stalks to prepare for a fall planting of cabbage, broccoli and collards. Jim Morrison, Washington Post, 14 Aug. 2023
Noun
Merchants receive significant value by accepting credit cards as cards cost less to handle than cash, checkout lines move faster and there is less crime (no money in the till means fewer robberies). Letters To The Editor, The Mercury News, 7 Feb. 2024 The Sprouse family farm covers thousands of acres of fertile glacial till, ​​remnants of the last ice age, in northwestern Missouri. Michael Holtz, The New Yorker, 26 Jan. 2024 The company rolled out hundreds of such tills earlier this year as part of the effort. Byprarthana Prakash, Fortune Europe, 21 Nov. 2023 Separately, Nirenberg noted, the city’s emergency housing assistance program has put $74 million in the hands of 16,000 needy households trying to cover living costs including rent and utilities — and still has about $7 million left in the till. Joshua Fechter, ExpressNews.com, 12 Jan. 2021 Even with Sally stealing from the till, waitressing’s not enough to cover a fugitive lifestyle like this. Alan Sepinwall, Rolling Stone, 15 May 2023 One heard tales of staff—the waitresses in dirndl skirts, the most powerful and trusted masseurs—who moved to Maria Wörth for higher wages, or employees being dismissed for having their hands in the till. Janine Di Giovanni, Town & Country, 28 Apr. 2023 There is a feeling in the country that there are no repercussions for politicians who dip their hands into the till. Aanu Adeoye, Quartz, 30 June 2021 Houston, with Dom Capers at the till, was 1-3. Kevin Sherrington, Dallas News, 6 Oct. 2020 See More

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

Word History

Etymology

Preposition

Middle English, from Old English til; akin to Old Norse til to, till, Old English til good

Verb

Middle English tilien, tillen, from Old English tilian; akin to Old English til good, suitable, Old High German zil goal

Noun (1)

Middle English tille locker, chest

Noun (2)

origin unknown

First Known Use

Preposition

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Conjunction

12th century, in the meaning defined above

Verb

12th century, in the meaning defined above

Noun (1)

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1b

Noun (2)

1842, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of till was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near till

Cite this Entry

“Till.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/till. Accessed 25 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

till

1 of 4 preposition or conjunction
variants or 'til also til
tᵊl,
təl,
(ˌ)til
: until
won't finish till next week

till

2 of 4 verb
ˈtil
: to work by plowing, sowing, and raising crops on or in
tilled the land
help till the soil
tillable
-ə-bəl
adjective

till

3 of 4 noun
: a drawer for money

till

4 of 4 noun
: a mixture of clay, sand, gravel, and boulders deposited by a glacier
Etymology

Preposition or conjunction

Old English til "until"

Verb

Old English tilian "to work (land) by plowing and raising crops"

Noun

origin unknown

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