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once

[wuhns]
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adverb
  1. at one time in the past; formerly: I was a farmer once; a once powerful nation.
  2. a single time: We ate there just once. We go to a movie once a week.
  3. even a single time; at any time; ever: If the facts once become known, it will be just too bad.
  4. by a single step, degree, or grade: a cousin once removed.
adjective
  1. former; having at one time been: the once and future king.
conjunction
  1. if or when at any time; if ever.
  2. whenever; as soon as: Once you're finished, you can leave.
noun
  1. a single occasion; one time only: Once is enough.
Idioms
  1. all at once,
    1. simultaneously: The children were running, screaming, and throwing things all at once.
    2. suddenly: All at once the rain came down.
  2. at once,
    1. at the same time; simultaneously: Don't all speak at once.
    2. immediately; promptly: Tell him to come at once!
  3. once and again, repeatedly: He has been told once and again not to slam the door.
  4. once and for all, decisively; finally: Let's settle this problem once and for all.Also once for all.
  5. once in a while, at intervals; occasionally: She stops in to see us once in a while.
  6. once or twice, a very few times; infrequently: I've seen her in the elevator once or twice.
  7. once upon a time, at some unspecified past time, especially a long time ago: Once upon a time, in a faraway land, there lived a prince and princess.

Origin of once

before 1150; Middle English ones, Old English ānes, orig. genitive of ān one; replacing Middle English enes, Old English ǣnes once, equivalent to ǣne once (orig. instrumental of ān) + -es adv. suffix; see -s1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for oncest

Historical Examples

  • The floods, as ye know, come every year, but them ar big ones only oncest in a while.

    The Hunters' Feast

    Mayne Reid

  • I did oncest—yis, oncest I wur in love, plum to the toe-nails.

    The War Trail

    Mayne Reid

  • I wish 'e wudn't waak honly waun haff of 'en at oncest, loike.

  • I've hearn you talk of a gal in Memphis county; Mary Brand you called her oncest.


British Dictionary definitions for oncest

once

adverb
  1. one time; on one occasion or in one case
  2. at some past time; formerlyI could speak French once
  3. by one step or degree (of relationship)a cousin once removed
  4. (in conditional clauses, negatives, etc) ever; at allif you once forget it
  5. multiplied by one
  6. once and away
    1. conclusively
    2. occasionally
  7. once and for all conclusively; for the last time
  8. once in a while occasionally; now and then
  9. once or twice or once and again a few times
  10. once upon a time used to begin fairy tales and children's stories
conjunction
  1. (subordinating) as soon as; if ever or wheneveronce you begin, you'll enjoy it
noun
  1. one occasion or caseyou may do it, this once
  2. all at once
    1. suddenly or without warning
    2. simultaneously
  3. at once
    1. immediately
    2. simultaneously
  4. for once this time, if (or but) at no other time

Word Origin

C12 ones, ānes, adverbial genitive of on, ān one
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 oncest

once

adv.

c.1200, anes, from ane "one" (see one ) + adverbial genitive. Replaced Old English æne. Spelling changed as pronunciation shifted from two syllables to one after c.1300. Pronunciation change to "wuns" parallels that of one. As an emphatic, meaning "once and for all," it is attested from c.1300, but this now is regarded as a Pennsylvania German dialect formation. Meaning "in a past time" (but not necessarily just one time) is from mid-13c.

Once upon a time as the beginning of a story is recorded from 1590s. At once originally (early 13c.) meant "simultaneously," later "in one company" (c.1300), and preserved the sense of "one" in the word; the phrase typically appeared as one word, atones; the modern meaning "immediately" is attested from 1530s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with oncest

oncest

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.

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