- within a short period after this or that time, event, etc.: We shall know soon after he calls.
- before long; in the near future; at an early date: Let's leave soon.
- promptly or quickly: He came as soon as he could.
- readily or willingly: I would as soon walk as ride.
- early in a period of time; before the time specified is much advanced: soon at night; soon in the evening.
- Obsolete. immediately; at once; forthwith.
- sooner or later, eventually: Sooner or later his luck will run out.
- would sooner, to prefer to: I would sooner not go to their party.Compare rather(def 9).
Origin of soon
- in or after a short time; in a little while; before longthe doctor will soon be here
- as soon as at the very moment thatshe burst into tears as soon as she saw him
- as soon…as used to indicate that the second alternative mentioned is not preferable to the firstI'd just as soon go by train as drive
Word Origin and History for sooner or later
Old English sona "at once, immediately, directly, forthwith," from West Germanic *sæno (cf. Old Frisian son, Old Saxon sana, Old High German san, Gothic suns "soon"). Sense softened early Middle English to "within a short time" (cf. anon). American English. Sooner for "Oklahoma native" is 1930 (earlier "one who acts prematurely," 1889), from the 1889 opening to whites of what was then part of Indian Territory, when many would-be settlers sneaked onto public land and staked their claims "sooner" than the legal date and time.
Idioms and Phrases with sooner or later
sooner or later
Eventually, at some unspecified future time, as in Sooner or later we'll have to answer that letter, or It's bound to stop raining sooner or later. This term, which generally implies that some future event is certain to happen, was first recorded in 1577.