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[soon] /sun/
adverb, sooner, soonest.
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
before 900; Middle English; Old English sōna; cognate with Old High German sān, Gothic suns
Can be confused
currently, immediately, momentarily, now, presently, soon (see synonym study at immediately; see usage note at presently) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for soonest
Historical Examples
  • A teacher who is badly treated by a pupil can soonest obtain justice by appealing to the other pupils.

    The Son of a Servant August Strindberg
  • A Loose-Fish is fair game for anybody who can soonest catch it.

    Moby Dick; or The Whale Herman Melville
  • The least said is soonest mended, youve heard, and I guess the same idea applies to thanks.

    The Motor Boat Club in Florida H. Irving Hancock
  • "The least said the soonest mended about that one, I'm afeared," said the dame.

    The Vicar of Bullhampton Anthony Trollope
  • For, perchance, where the hedge is lowest, they will soonest leap over.

  • However, as Lady Betty says, "the least said, the soonest mended."

  • A woman may get to love by degrees—the best fire dosna flare up the soonest.

    Adam Bede George Eliot
  • "As you say, the least said the soonest mended," he rejoined.

    The Wild Geese Stanley John Weyman
  • The next train out from Redding—They'll be here by five in the morning at soonest.

    The Riverman Stewart Edward White
  • “The least said the soonest mended, McByle,” said the captain coldly.

    Steve Young George Manville Fenn
British Dictionary definitions for soonest


the superlative of soon
as soon as possible; urgently; without delay: send money soonest


in or after a short time; in a little while; before long: the doctor will soon be here
as soon as, at the very moment that: she 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 first: I'd just as soon go by train as drive
Word Origin
Old English sōna; related to Old High German sāno, Gothic suns
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
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Word Origin and History for soonest



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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with soonest
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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