Try Our Apps


Avoid these words. Seriously.


[wuhns-oh-ver] /ˈwʌnsˌoʊ vər/
noun, Informal.
a quick look, examination, or appraisal.
a quick, superficial job:
He gave the car just a once-over with a rag.
Origin of once-over
An Americanism dating back to 1910-15 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for once-over
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Were going to give this valley the once-over with a fine-toothed comb.

  • Every motor, machine and conveyor in the place was being given the once-over.

    The Shadow Passes Roy J. Snell
  • "And gave you the once-over in the big room," Chan declared.

    Seed of the Arctic Ice H. G. Winter
  • But he came to immediate, and we all stood at attention while he give that bundle the once-over.

    Believe You Me! Nina Wilcox Putnam
  • How about it, Jeff—want to go along and give the big town the once-over or not?

    J. Poindexter, Colored Irvin Shrewsbury Cobb
  • I got just about the once-over from every brute there, and that was all.

    Somewhere in Red Gap

    Harry Leon Wilson
  • I always find I can get along better after givin' it a once-over, no matter how well I know it.'

    Atlantic Narratives Mary Antin
  • Then I'll go down and give my property the once-over, and be up tomorrow to get what I need.

    The Heritage of the Hills Arthur P. Hankins
  • An' one mornin' when I'd downed three or four, I noticed you kind of givin' me the once-over.

    Snowdrift James B. Hendryx
British Dictionary definitions for once-over


noun (informal)
a quick examination or appraisal
a quick but comprehensive piece of work
a violent beating or thrashing (esp in the phrase give (a person or thing) the (or a) once-over)
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for once-over

"inspection," 1913, from once + over.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Slang definitions & phrases for once-over


noun phrase

A hasty cursory performance or preparation; a LICK AND A PROMISE: a razor for a hasty once-over (1940s+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Nearby words for once-over

Word Value for once

Scrabble Words With Friends