[ nons ]
/ nɒns /


the present, or immediate, occasion or purpose (usually used in the phrase for the nonce).


(of a word or phrase) coined and used only for a particular occasion: nonce forms such as “paintrix,” meaning “a female painter.”

Origin of nonce

1150–1200; Middle English nones, in phrase for the nones, by faulty division of for then ones for the once (Middle English then dative singular of the1; ones once) Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for nonce

  • The "Nonce" said that you caught him up in a line he had misquoted.'

    Gerald Fitzgerald|Charles James Lever

British Dictionary definitions for nonce (1 of 2)

/ (nɒns) /


the present time or occasion (now only in the phrase for the nonce)

Word Origin for nonce

C12: from the phrase for the nonce, a mistaken division of for then anes, literally: for the once, from then dative singular of the + anes once

British Dictionary definitions for nonce (2 of 2)

/ (nɒns) /


prison slang a rapist or child molester; a sexual offender

Word Origin for nonce

C20: of unknown origin
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