- (used to indicate a point or place occupied in space); in, on, or near: to stand at the door; at the bottom of the barrel.
- (used to indicate a location or position, as in time, on a scale, or in order): at zero; at noon; at age 65; at the end; at the lowest point.
- (used to indicate presence or location): at home; at hand.
- (used to indicate amount, degree, or rate): at great speed; at high altitudes.
- (used to indicate a direction, goal, or objective); toward: Aim at the mark. Look at that.
- (used to indicate occupation or involvement): at work; at play.
- (used to indicate a state or condition): at ease; at peace.
- (used to indicate a cause or source): She was annoyed at his stupidity.
- (used to indicate a method or manner): He spoke at length.
- (used to indicate relative quality or value): at one's best; at cost.
- be at (someone), to be sexually aggressive toward (a person): She's pregnant again because he's at her morning, noon, and night.
- where it's at, Informal. the place where the most interesting or exciting things happen: Emma says that Rome is definitely where it's at now.
Origin of at1
- in or at what place?: Where is he? Where do you live?
- in what position or circumstances?: Where do you stand on this question? Without money, where are you?
- in what particular respect, way, etc.?: Where does this affect us?
- to what place, point, or end? whither?: Where are you going?
- from what source? whence?: Where did you get such a notion?
- in or at what place, part, point, etc.: Find where he is. Find where the trouble is.
- in or at the place, part, point, etc., in or at which: The book is where you left it.
- in a position, case, etc., in which: Where ignorance is bliss, 'tis folly to be wise.
- in any place, position, case, etc., in which; wherever: Use the ointment where pain is felt.
- to what or whatever place; to the place or any place to which: I will go where you go.
- in or at which place; and there: They came to the town, where they lodged for the night.
- what place?: Where did you come from?
- the place in which; point at which: This is where the boat docks. That was where the phone rang.
- a place; that place in which something is located or occurs: the wheres and hows of job hunting.
- where it's at, Slang. where the most exciting, prestigious, or profitable activity or circumstance is to be found.
Origin of where
- Also: A ampere-turn
- attainment target
- used to indicate location or positionare they at the table?; staying at a small hotel
- towards; in the direction oflooking at television; throwing stones at windows
- used to indicate position in timecome at three o'clock
- engaged in; in a state of (being)children at play; stand at ease; he is at his most charming today
- (in expressions concerned with habitual activity) during the passing of (esp in the phrase at night)he used to work at night
- for; in exchange forit's selling at four pounds
- used to indicate the object of an emotionangry at the driver; shocked at his behaviour
- where it's at slang the real place of action
- a Laotian monetary unit worth one hundredth of a kip
- in, at, or to what place, point, or position?where are you going?
- (used in indirect questions)I don't know where they are
- in, at, or to which (place)the hotel where we spent our honeymoon
- (subordinating) in the place at whichwhere we live it's always raining
- (usually plural) a question as to the position, direction, or destination of something
Word Origin and History for where it's at
Old English æt, from Proto-Germanic *at (cf. Old Norse, Gothic at, Old Frisian et, Old High German az), from PIE *ad- "to, near, at" (cf. Latin ad "to, toward" Sanskrit adhi "near;" see ad-).
Lost in German and Dutch, which use their equivalent of to; in Scandinavian, however, to has been lost and at fills its place. In choosing between at church, in church, etc. at is properly distinguished from in or on by involving some practical connection; a worshipper is at church; a tourist is in the church.
The colloquial use of at after where ("where it's at") is attested from 1859. At last is recorded from late 13c.; adverbial phrase at least was in use by 1775. At in Middle English was used freely with prepositions (e.g. at after, which is in Shakespeare), but this has faded with the exception of at about, which was used in modern times by Trollope, Virginia Woolfe, D.H. Lawrence, and Evelyn Waugh, but nonetheless is regarded as a sign of incompetent writing by my copy editor bosses.
Old English hwær, hwar, from Proto-Germanic *khwar (cf. Old Saxon hwar, Old Norse hvar, Old Frisian hwer, Middle Dutch waer, Old High German hwar, German wo, Gothic hvar "where"), from PIE interrogative base *qwo- (see who).
- The symbol for the elementastatine
- The symbol for astatine.
Idioms and Phrases with where it's at
where it's at
Also, where the action is. The key center of activity; where important things are happening. For example, He decided to set up his store here, convinced that this is where it's at, or I'm going into the brokerage business; that's where the action is these days. The action or activity in this phrase can relate to just about anything—financial, political, social, or commercial. [Slang; c. 1960]
In addition to the idioms beginning with where
- where do we go from here
- where it's at
- where one is coming from
- where one lives
- where there's a will, there's a way
- where there's smoke