Dictionary.com
definitions
  • synonyms

already

[awl-red-ee]
See more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
adverb
  1. by this or that time; previously; prior to or at some specified or implied time: When we came in, we found they had already arrived.
  2. now; so soon; so early: Is it noon already?
  3. Informal. (used as an intensifier to express exasperation or impatience): Let's go already!
Show More

Origin of already

1350–1400; Middle English al redy “all ready”; what originally meant “completely (all) ready” and modified the subject (The porter all ready was there) was taken adverbially as modifying the predicate (The porter already was there, meaning “from an earlier time”)

Usage note

Although already and all ready are often indistinguishable in speech, the written forms have distinct meanings and uses. The phrase all ready means “entirely ready” or “prepared” ( I was all ready to leave on vacation ). Already means “previously” ( The plane had already left the airport ) or “so soon” ( Is it lunchtime already? ).
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for already

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Perhaps you already know that Anaxagoras fell asleep in Ionia.

    Philothea

    Lydia Maria Child

  • I have another favour to ask, in addition to the many claims you already have upon me.

    Philothea

    Lydia Maria Child

  • But Uncle Peter had already put in some hard winters, and was not wanting in fortitude.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • Anyway, he said, Jim had already sure-enough drowned as fur as there was any fun in it.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • Miss Bines and young Milbrey were already on excellent terms.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson


British Dictionary definitions for already

already

adverb
  1. by or before a stated or implied timehe is already here
  2. at a time earlier than expectedis it ten o'clock already?
Show More
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for already

adv.

c.1300, compound of all + ready (adj.); literally "fully ready." Cf. Norwegian, Danish allerede "already." Colloquial use in U.S. as a terminal emphatic (e.g. enough, already!) is attested from 1903, translating Yiddish shoyn, which is used in same sense. The pattern also is attested in Pennsylvania German and in South African.

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper