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nonce

[ nons ]
/ nɒns /
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noun
the present, or immediate, occasion or purpose (usually used in the phrase for the nonce).
adjective
(of a word or phrase) coined and used only for a particular occasion: nonce forms such as “paintrix,” meaning “a female painter.”
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Which of the following words describes “sky blue”?
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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; onesonce)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

How to use nonce in a sentence

  • 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)

nonce1
/ (nɒns) /

noun
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)

nonce2
/ (nɒns) /

noun
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
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