[ aw-fuhn, of-uhn; awf-tuhn, of- ]
/ ˈɔ fən, ˈɒf ən; ˈɔf tən, ˈɒf- /


many times; frequently: He visits his parents as often as he can.
in many cases.


Archaic. frequent.

Words nearby often

Origin of often

1300–50; Middle English oftin, variant before vowels of ofte oft


1, 2 repeatedly, customarily. Often, frequently, generally, usually refer to experiences that are customary. Often and frequently may be used interchangeably in most cases, but often implies numerous repetitions and, sometimes, regularity of recurrence: We often go there; frequently suggests especially repetition at comparatively short intervals: It happens frequently. Generally refers to place and means universally: It is generally understood. He is generally liked; but it is often used as a colloquial substitute for usually. In this sense, generally, like usually, refers to time, and means in numerous instances. Generally, however, extends in range from the merely numerous to a majority of possible instances; whereas usually means practically always: The train is generally on time. We usually have hot summers.


of·ten·ness, noun

pronunciation note for often

Often was pronounced with a t -sound until the 17th century, when a pronunciation without the [t] /t/ came to predominate in the speech of the educated, in both North America and Great Britain, and the earlier pronunciation fell into disfavor. Common use of a spelling pronunciation has since restored the [t] /t/ for many speakers, and today [aw-fuhn] /ˈɔ fən/ and [awf-tuhn] /ˈɔf tən/ [or [of-uhn] /ˈɒf ən/ and [of-tuhn] /ˈɒf tən/ ] exist side by side. Although it is still sometimes criticized, often with a [t] /t/ is now so widely heard from educated speakers that it has become fully standard once again.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

British Dictionary definitions for often

/ (ˈɒfən, ˈɒftən) /


frequently or repeatedly; much of the timeArchaic equivalents: oftentimes, ofttimes
as often as not quite frequently
every so often at intervals
more often than not in more than half the instances


archaic repeated; frequent

Word Origin for often

C14: variant of oft before vowels and h
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

Idioms and Phrases with often


see every now and then (so often); more often than not.

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