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View synonyms for a

a

1

[ uh; when stressed ey ]

indefinite article

  1. not any particular or certain one of a class or group:

    a man; a chemical; a house.

  2. a certain; a particular:

    one at a time; two of a kind; A Miss Johnson called.

  3. another; one typically resembling:

    a Cicero in eloquence; a Jonah.

  4. one (used before plural nouns that are preceded by a quantifier singular in form): a hundred men (compare hundreds of men ); a dozen times (compare dozens of times ).
  5. indefinitely or nonspecifically (used with adjectives expressing number):

    a great many years; a few stars.

  6. one (used before a noun expressing quantity):

    a yard of ribbon; a score of times.

  7. any; a single:

    not a one.



A

2
or a

[ ey ]

noun

, plural A's or As, a's or as.
  1. the first letter of the English alphabet, a vowel.
  2. any spoken sound represented by the letter A or a, as in bake, hat, father, or small.
  3. something having the shape of an A .
  4. a written or printed representation of the letter A or a.
  5. a device, as a printer's type, for reproducing the letter A or a.

a-

3
  1. a reduced form of the Old English preposition on, meaning “on,” “in,” “into,” “to,” “toward,” preserved before a noun in a prepositional phrase, forming a predicate adjective or an adverbial element ( afoot; abed; ashore; aside; away ), or before an adjective ( afar; aloud; alow ), as a moribund prefix with a verb ( acknowledge ), and in archaic and dialectal use before a present participle in -ing ( set the bells aringing ); and added to a verb stem with the force of a present participle ( ablaze; agape; aglow; astride; and originally, awry ).

-a

4
  1. a plural ending of nouns borrowed from Greek and Latin:

    phenomena; criteria; data; errata; genera.

a.

5

abbreviation for

  1. year.

A.

6

abbreviation for

  1. year.

a

7

[ uh; when stressed ey ]

preposition

  1. each; every; per:

    ten cents a sheet; three times a day.

A

8

abbreviation for

  1. Electricity. ampere; amperes.
  2. Physics. angstrom; angstroms.
  3. answer.
  4. British. arterial (used with a road number to designate a major highway):

    Take the A525 to Ruthin.

a-

9
  1. a reduced form of the Old English preposition of: akin; afresh; anew.

-a

10
  1. a feminine singular ending of nouns borrowed from Latin and Greek, also used in New Latin coinages to Latinize bases of any origin, and as a Latin substitute for the feminine ending - ē of Greek words: cinchona;

    anabaena;

    cinchona;

    pachysandra.

a.

11

abbreviation for

  1. before.

A.

12

abbreviation for

  1. before.

a

13

[ uh ]

preposition

  1. Informal. a reduced, unstressed form of of (often written as part of a single, unhyphenated word):

    cloth a gold; time a day; kinda; sorta.

A

14
Symbol.
  1. the first in order or in a series.
  2. Sometimes a.
    1. (in some grading systems) a grade or mark, as in school or college, indicating the quality of a student's work as excellent or superior.
    2. (in some school systems) a symbol designating the first semester of a school year.
  3. Music.
    1. the sixth tone in the scale of C major or the first tone in the relative minor scale, A minor.
    2. a string, key, or pipe tuned to this tone.
    3. a written or printed note representing this tone.
    4. (in the fixed system of solmization) the sixth tone of the scale of C major, called la.
    5. the tonality having A as the tonic note.
  4. Physiology. a major blood group, usually enabling a person whose blood is of this type to donate blood to persons of group A or AB and to receive blood from persons of O or A. Compare ABO system.
  5. Sometimes a. the medieval Roman numeral for 50 or 500. Compare Roman numerals.
  6. Chemistry. (formerly) argon.
  7. Chemistry, Physics. mass number.
  8. Biochemistry.
  9. Also a. Logic. universal affirmative.
  10. British. a designation for a motion picture recommended as suitable for adults. Compare AA 2( def 5 ), U 5( def 6 ), X 3( def 9 ).
  11. a proportional shoe width size, narrower than B and wider than AA.
  12. a proportional brassiere cup size, smaller than B and larger than AA.
  13. a quality rating for a corporate or municipal bond, lower than AA and higher than BBB.

a-

15
  1. an old point-action prefix, not referring to an act as a whole, but only to the beginning or end: She arose (rose up). They abided by their beliefs (remained faithful to the end).

-a

16
  1. an ending of personal names forming feminines from masculines:

    Georgia; Roberta.

a.

17

abbreviation for

  1. about.
  2. acre; acres.
  3. active.
  4. adjective.
  5. alto.
  6. ampere; amperes.
  7. anonymous.
  8. answer.
  9. are; ares.
  10. Baseball. assist; assists.

A.

18

abbreviation for

  1. Absolute.
  2. Academy.
  3. acre; acres.
  4. America.
  5. American.
  6. angstrom.
  7. answer.
  8. April.
  9. Artillery.

a

19

[ uh ]

auxiliary verb

, Informal.
  1. a reduced, unstressed form of auxiliary have following some modals, as might, should, could, would, and must (usually written as part of a single, unhyphenated word):

    We shoulda gone.

a-

20
  1. variant of ab- before p and v: aperient; avert.

-a

21
  1. a suffix designating the oxide of the chemical element denoted by the stem:

    alumina; ceria; thoria.

a

22

[ uh, a, ah ]

pronoun

, British Dialect.
  1. she.
  2. I 2.

a-

23
  1. variant of ad-, used: (1) before sc, sp, st ( ascend ) and (2) in words of French derivation (often with the sense of increase, addition):

    amass.

a

24

abbreviation for

, Measurements.
  1. are; ares.

a-

25
  1. variant of an- 1 before a consonant, meaning “not,” “without”:

    amoral; atonal; achromatic.

Å

26
Symbol, Physics.
  1. angstrom.

a'

27
or a

[ ah, aw ]

adjective

, Scots
  1. all:

    for a' that.

A-

28
  1. atomic (used in combination):

    A-bomb; A-plant.

a

1

/ ə /

preposition

  1. (usually linked to the preceding noun) an informal form of of

    sorta sad

    a kinda waste



a-

2

prefix

  1. not; without; opposite to

    atonal

    asocial

A.

3

abbreviation for

  1. acre(s) or acreage
  2. America(n)
  3. answer

A

4

symbol for

  1. music
    1. a note having a frequency of 440 hertz ( A above middle C ) or this value multiplied or divided by any power of 2; the sixth note of the scale of C major
    2. a key, string, or pipe producing this note
    3. the major or minor key having this note as its tonic
  2. a human blood type of the ABO group, containing the A antigen
  3. (in Britain) a major arterial road

    the A3 runs from London to Portsmouth

  4. formerly, in Britain
    1. a film certified for viewing by anyone, but which contains material that some parents may not wish their children to see
    2. ( as modifier )

      an A film

  5. mass number
  6. the number 10 in hexadecimal notation
  7. cards ace
  8. chem argon (now superseded by Ar )
  9. ampere(s)
  10. Alsoat ampere-turn
  11. absolute (temperature)
  12. (in circuit diagrams) ammeter
  13. area
  14. in combination atomic

    an A-bomb

    an A-plant

  15. chem affinity
  16. biochem adenine
  17. logic a universal affirmative categorical proposition, such as all men are mortal: often symbolized as SaP Compare E I 2 O 1
    1. a person whose job is in top management, or who holds a senior administrative or professional position
    2. ( as modifier ) See also occupation groupings

      an A worker

abbreviation for

  1. Austria (international car registration)

a

5

/ /

noun

  1. the first letter and first vowel of the modern English alphabet
  2. any of several speech sounds represented by this letter, in English as in take, bag, calm, shortage, or cobra
  3. Also calledalpha the first in a series, esp the highest grade or mark, as in an examination
  4. from A to Z
    from start to finish, thoroughly and in detail

a-

6

prefix

  1. on; in; towards

    aground

    aback

    afoot

    abed

  2. literary.
    used before a present participle in the act or process of

    come a-running

    go a-hunting

  3. in the condition or state of

    afloat

    alive

    asleep

Å

7

symbol for

  1. angstrom unit

a

8

symbol for

  1. acceleration
  2. are(s) (metric measure of land)
  3. atto-

a

9

/ ə; eɪ /

determiner

  1. used preceding a singular countable noun, if the noun is not previously specified or known

    a dog

    a terrible disappointment

  2. used preceding a proper noun to indicate that a person or thing has some of the qualities of the one named

    a Romeo

    a Shylock

  3. used preceding a noun or determiner of quantity

    a dozen eggs

    to read a lot

    a great many

    a cupful

  4. used preceding a noun indicating a concrete or abstract thing capable of being divided

    half a loaf

    a quarter of a minute

  5. preceded byonce, twice, several times, etc each or every; per

    once a day

    fifty pence a pound

  6. a certain; one

    to change policy at a stroke

    a Mr Jones called

  7. preceded by not any at all

    not a hope

a'

10

/ ɔː /

determiner

  1. variants of all

a

11

/ ə /

verb

  1. an informal or dialect word for have

    they'd a said if they'd known

Å

1
  1. Abbreviation of angstrom


A

2
  1. Abbreviation of adenine , ampere , angstrom , area

a–

3
  1. A prefix meaning “without” or “not” when forming an adjective (such as amorphous, without form, or atypical, not typical), and “absence of” when forming a noun (such as arrhythmia, absence of rhythm). Before a vowel or h it becomes an– (as in anhydrous, anoxia ).
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Grammar Note

In both spoken and written English the choice of a1 or an 1 is determined by the initial sound of the word that follows. Before a consonant sound, a is used; before a vowel sound, an : a book, a rose; an apple, an opera. Problems arise occasionally when the following word begins with a vowel letter but actually starts with a consonant sound, or vice versa. Some words beginning with the vowel letter u and all words beginning with the vowel letters eu are pronounced with a beginning consonant sound, as if the first letter were y : a union; a European. Some other spellings that begin with a vowel letter may also stand for an initial consonant sound: a ewe; a ewer. The words one and once and all compounds of which they are the first element begin with a w sound: a one-room apartment; a once-famous actor. The names of the consonant letters f, h, l, m, n, r, s, and x are pronounced with a beginning vowel sound. When these letters are used as words or to form words, they are preceded by an : to rent an L-shaped studio; to fly an SST. The names of the vowel letter u and the semivowel letters w and y are pronounced with a beginning consonant sound. When used as words, they are preceded by a : a U-turn; The plumber installed a Y in the line. In some words beginning with the letter h, the h is not pronounced; the words actually begin with a vowel sound: an hour; an honor. When the h is strongly pronounced, as in a stressed syllable at the beginning of a word, it is preceded by a : a history of the Sioux; a hero sandwich. (In former times an was used before strongly pronounced h in a stressed first syllable: an hundred. ) Such adjectives as historic, historical, heroic, and habitual, which begin with an unstressed syllable and often with a silent or weakly pronounced h, are commonly preceded by an, especially in British English. But the use of a rather than an is widespread in both speech and writing: a historical novel; a habitual criminal. Hotel and unique are occasionally preceded by an, but this use is increasingly old-fashioned. Although in some dialects an has yielded to a in all cases, edited writing reflects usage as described above.
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Word History and Origins

Origin of a1

First recorded in 1200–50; Middle English; originally preconsonantal phonetic variant of an 1

Origin of a2

Middle English, late Old English; a 2, nowadays

Origin of a3

< Latin annō, ablative of annus

Origin of a4

< Latin annō, ablative of annus

Origin of a5

Originally Middle English a, preconsonantal variant of on ( a- 1 ); confused with a 1

Origin of a6

Middle English; a 3

Origin of a7

From the Latin word ante

Origin of a8

From the Latin word ante

Origin of a9

Middle English; unstressed preconsonantal variant of of 1

Origin of a10

Middle English; Old English a- (unstressed), ǣ-, ā-, ō- (stressed; abb, woof 1, oakum ), rarely or- ( ordeal ), ultimately from unattested Germanic uz- from unstressed Indo-European uss-, from ud-s (these latter two also unattested), akin to out; in some cases confused with a- 4, as in abridge

Origin of a11

From Latin feminine ending -a, as Claudia, feminine of Claudius; -a 2

Origin of a12

First recorded in 1300–50; Middle English; a phonetic variant of have

Origin of a13

Middle English < Latin ā-, a- (variant of ab- ab- ); in some words < French a- < Latin ab-, as in abridge

Origin of a14

Probably generalized from the -a of magnesia

Origin of a15

First recorded in 1200–50; Middle English a, ha

Origin of a16

Middle English, in some words < Middle French a- < Latin ad- prefix or ad preposition ( ad- ), as in abut; in others < Latin a- (variant of ad- ad- ), as in ascend
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Word History and Origins

Origin of a1

from Greek a-, an- not, without

Origin of a2

from Latin a ( ffirmo ) I affirm
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Idioms and Phrases

Idioms
  1. from A to Z, from beginning to end; thoroughly; completely:

    He knows the Bible from A to Z.

  2. not know from A to B, to know nothing; be ignorant.
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Example Sentences

ROME — What does it take for a Hollywood A-lister to get a private audience with Pope Francis?

Yes, Byrd—dead four-and-a-half years now—was a Kleagle in the Ku Klux Klan.

By the time it concluded with a sing-a-long of “XO,” Beyoncé had done the rare thing.

In another year, stories about the strange new face of an A-list actress might draw chortles and cackles.

Because Duck Dynasty receives monster TV ratings and Robertson paid by a company (A&E) while making these public statements.

Now-a-days it is the bankrupt who flouts, and his too confiding creditors who are jeered and laughed at.

He felt himself the meanest, vilest thing a-crawl upon this sinful earth, and she—dear God!

All that scientific bric-a-brac in the cupboard had far better be thrown away.

Urinary sediments may be studied under three heads: A. Unorganized sediments.

I knowed, a-course, that I could go kick up a fuss when Simpson stopped by his office on his trip back from Goldstone.

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Related Words

Definitions and idiom definitions from Dictionary.com 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.

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