View synonyms for one



[ wuhn ]


  1. being or amounting to a single unit or individual or entire thing, item, or object rather than two or more; a single:

    one woman;

    one nation;

    one piece of cake.

  2. being a person, thing, or individual instance or member of a number, kind, group, or category indicated:

    one member of the party.

  3. existing, acting, or considered as a single unit, entity, or individual.
  4. of the same or having a single kind, nature, or condition: We are of one resolve.

    We belong to one team.

    We are of one resolve.

  5. noting some indefinite day or time in the future:

    You will see him one day.

  6. a certain (often used in naming a person otherwise unknown or undescribed):

    One John Smith was chosen.

  7. being a particular, unique, or only individual, item, or unit:

    I'm looking for the one adviser I can trust.

  8. noting some indefinite day or time in the past:

    We all had dinner together one evening last week.

  9. of no consequence as to the character, outcome, etc.; the same:

    It's all one to me whether they go or not.


  1. the first and lowest whole number, being a cardinal number; unity.
  2. a symbol of this number, as 1 or I.
  3. a single person or thing:

    If only problems would come one at a time!

  4. a die face or a domino face having one pip.
  5. a one-dollar bill:

    to change a five-dollar bill for five ones.

  6. One. Philosophy. (in Neoplatonism ) the ultimate reality, seen as a central source of being by whose emanations all entities, spiritual and corporeal, have their existence, the corporeal ones containing the fewest of the emanations.


  1. a person or thing of a number or kind indicated or understood:

    one of the Elizabethan poets.

  2. (in certain pronominal combinations) a person unless definitely specified otherwise:

    every one.

  3. (with a defining clause or other qualifying words) a person or a personified being or agency: the one I love.

    the evil one;

    the one I love.

  4. any person indefinitely; anyone:

    One's score is never as good as one would desire.

  5. Chiefly British. (used as a substitute for the pronoun I):

    Mother had been ailing for many months, and one should have realized it.

  6. a person of the speaker's kind; such as the speaker's own self:

    to press one's own claims.

  7. something or someone of the kind just mentioned: Your teachers this semester seem to be good ones.

    The portraits are fine ones.

    Your teachers this semester seem to be good ones.

  8. something available or referred to, especially in the immediate area: The bar is open, so have one on me!

    Here, take one—they're delicious.

    The bar is open, so have one on me!


  1. a suffix used in the names of ketones and analogous chemical compounds:

    lactone; quinone.



suffix forming nouns

  1. indicating that a chemical compound is a ketone




/ wʌn /


    1. single; lone; not two or more

      one car

    2. ( as pronoun )

      one is enough for now

      one at a time

    3. ( in combination )



    1. distinct from all others; only; unique

      one girl in a million

    2. ( as pronoun )

      one of a kind

    1. a specified (person, item, etc) as distinct from another or others of its kind

      raise one hand and then the other

    2. ( as pronoun )

      which one is correct?

  1. a certain, indefinite, or unspecified (time); some

    one day you'll be sorry

  2. See an, a
    an emphatic word for a 1 an 1

    it was one hell of a fight

  3. a certain (person)

    one Miss Jones was named

  4. in one
    in oneall in one combined; united
  5. all one
    all one
    1. all the same
    2. of no consequence

      it's all one to me

  6. at one
    at one often foll by with in a state of agreement or harmony
  7. be made one
    be made one (of a man and a woman) to become married
  8. many a one
    many a one many people
  9. neither one thing nor the other
    neither one thing nor the other indefinite, undecided, or mixed
  10. never a one
    never a one none
  11. one and all
    one and all everyone, without exception
  12. one by one
    one by one one at a time; individually
  13. one or two
    one or two a few
  14. one way and another
    one way and another on balance
  15. off on one informal.
    off on one exhibiting bad temper; ranting
  16. one with another
    one with another on average


  1. an indefinite person regarded as typical of every person

    one can't say any more than that

  2. any indefinite person: used as the subject of a sentence to form an alternative grammatical construction to that of the passive voice

    one can catch fine trout in this stream

  3. archaic.
    an unspecified person

    one came to him


  1. See number
    the smallest whole number and the first cardinal number; unity See also number
  2. a numeral (1, I, i, etc) representing this number
  3. informal.
    a joke or story (esp in the one about )
  4. music the numeral 1 used as the lower figure in a time signature to indicate that the beat is measured in semibreves
  5. something representing, represented by, or consisting of one unit
  6. Also calledone o'clock one hour after noon or midnight
  7. a blow or setback (esp in the phrase one in the eye for )
  8. the one
    the one (in Neo-Platonic philosophy) the ultimate being
  9. the Holy One
    the Holy Onethe One above God
  10. the Evil One
    the Evil One Satan; the devil


  1. A suffix used to form the names of chemical compounds containing an oxygen atom attached to a carbon atom, such as acetone.

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Grammar Note

One as an indefinite pronoun meaning “any person indefinitely, anyone” is more formal than you, which is also used as an indefinite pronoun with the same sense: One (or you ) should avoid misconceptions. One (or you ) can correct this fault in three ways. When the construction requires that the pronoun be repeated, either one or he or he or she is used; he or he or she is the more common in the United States: Wherever one looks, he (or he or she ) finds evidence of pollution. In speech or informal writing, a form of they sometimes occurs: Can one read this without having their emotions stirred? In constructions of the type one of those who (or that or which ), the antecedent of who is considered to be the plural noun or pronoun, correctly followed by a plural verb: He is one of those people who work for the government. Yet the feeling that one is the antecedent is so strong that a singular verb is commonly found in all types of writing: one of those people who works for the government. When one is preceded by only in such a construction, the singular verb is always used: the only one of her sons who visits her in the hospital. The substitution of one for I, a typically British use, is usually regarded as an affectation in the United States. he 1, they.

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Word History and Origins

Origin of one1

First recorded before 900; Middle English oon, Old English ān; cognate with Dutch een, German ein, Gothic ains, Latin ūnus ( Old Latin oinos ); akin to Greek oínē “ace on a die”

Origin of one2

Perhaps < Greek -ōnē feminine patronymic

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Word History and Origins

Origin of one1

arbitrarily from Greek -ōnē, feminine patronymic suffix, but perhaps influenced by -one in ozone

Origin of one2

Old English ān, related to Old French ān, ēn, Old High German ein, Old Norse einn, Latin unus, Greek oinē ace

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Idioms and Phrases

  1. at one,
    1. in a state of agreement; of one opinion.
    2. united in thought or feeling; attuned.

      He felt at one with his Creator.

  2. one and all, everyone:

    They came, one and all, to welcome him home.

  3. one by one, singly and successively:

    One by one the children married and moved away.

  4. one for the road. road ( def 10 ).

More idioms and phrases containing one

  • all in one piece
  • all the same (one)
  • A-1 (A-one)
  • as one
  • at one
  • at one stroke
  • at one time
  • at one time or another
  • back to the drawing board (square one)
  • each and every (last one)
  • each other (one another)
  • fast one
  • for one, 1
  • go one better
  • hang (one) on
  • harp on (one string)
  • hole in one
  • in one ear and out the other
  • in the same (in one) breath
  • irons in the fire, more than one
  • it takes one to know one
  • just one of those things
  • look out for (number one)
  • more than one way to skin a cat
  • not one iota
  • number one
  • on the one hand
  • (one) picture is worth a thousand words
  • put all one's eggs in one basket
  • quick one
  • seen one, seen them all
  • six of one, half dozen of the other
  • that's one on me
  • tie one on
  • wear another (more than one) hat
  • with one arm tied behind one's back
  • with one voice
  • words of one syllable

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Example Sentences

Added to drinking water at concentrations of around one part per million, fluoride ions stick to dental plaque.

In his view, a writer has only one duty: to be present in his books.

Yet this, in the end, is a book from which one emerges sad, gloomy, disenchanted, at least if we agree to take it seriously.

The fear of violence should not determine what one does or does not say.

The al Qaeda-linked gunmen shot back, but only managed to injure one officer before they were taken out.

Practise gliding in the form of inflection, or slide, from one extreme of pitch to another.

He alludes to it as one of their evil customs and used by them to produce insensibility.

There was a rumor that Alessandro and his father had both died; but no one knew anything certainly.

Truth is a torch, but one of enormous size; so that we slink past it in rather a blinking fashion for fear it should burn us.

Under the one-sixth they appear as slender, highly refractive fibers with double contour and, often, curled or split ends.


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Definitions and idiom definitions from Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

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