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often

[aw-fuhn, of-uhn; awf-tuhn, of-]
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adverb
  1. many times; frequently: He visits his parents as often as he can.
  2. in many cases.
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adjective
  1. Archaic. frequent.
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Origin of often

1300–50; Middle English oftin, variant before vowels of ofte oft
Related formsof·ten·ness, noun

Synonyms

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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.

Antonyms

1, 2. seldom.

Pronunciation note

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. 2018

Related Words

usuallyregularlymuchgenerallyrepeatedlyoftentimesofttimesrecurrently

British Dictionary definitions for often

often

adverb
  1. frequently or repeatedly; much of the timeArchaic equivalents: oftentimes, ofttimes
  2. as often as not quite frequently
  3. every so often at intervals
  4. more often than not in more than half the instances
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adjective
  1. archaic repeated; frequent
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Word Origin

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

Word Origin and History for often

adv.

c.1300, extended form of oft, originally before vowels and h-, probably by influence of Middle English selden "seldom." In common use from 16c., replacing oft.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with often

often

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

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