View synonyms for once


[ wuhns ]


  1. at one time in the past; formerly:

    I was a farmer once;

    a once powerful nation.

  2. a single time: We go to a movie once a week.

    We ate there just once.

    We go to a movie once a week.

  3. even a single time; at any time; ever:

    If the facts once become known, it will be just too bad.

  4. by a single step, degree, or grade:

    a cousin once removed.


  1. former; having at one time been:

    the once and future king.


  1. if or when at any time; if ever.
  2. whenever; as soon as:

    Once you're finished, you can leave.


  1. a single occasion; one time only:

    Once is enough.


/ wʌns /


  1. one time; on one occasion or in one case
  2. at some past time; formerly

    I could speak French once

  3. by one step or degree (of relationship)

    a cousin once removed

  4. in conditional clauses, negatives, etc ever; at all

    if you once forget it

  5. multiplied by one
  6. once and away
    1. conclusively
    2. occasionally
  7. once and for all
    conclusively; for the last time
  8. once in a while
    occasionally; now and then
  9. once or twice or once and again
    a few times
  10. once upon a time
    used to begin fairy tales and children's stories


  1. subordinating as soon as; if ever or whenever

    once you begin, you'll enjoy it


  1. one occasion or case

    you may do it, this once

  2. all at once
    1. suddenly or without warning
    2. simultaneously
  3. at once
    1. immediately
    2. simultaneously
  4. for once
    this time, if (or but) at no other time

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Word History and Origins

Origin of once1

First recorded before 1150; Middle English ones, Old English ānes, originally genitive of ān “one” replacing Middle English enes, Old English ǣnes “once,” equivalent to ǣne “once” (originally instrumental of ān ) + -es adverb suffix; one, -s 1

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Word History and Origins

Origin of once1

C12 ones, ānes, adverbial genitive of on, ān one

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Idioms and Phrases

  1. all at once,
    1. simultaneously:

      The children were running, screaming, and throwing things all at once.

    2. suddenly:

      All at once the rain came down.

  2. at once,
    1. at the same time; simultaneously:

      Don't all speak at once.

    2. immediately; promptly:

      Tell him to come at once!

  3. once and again, repeatedly:

    He has been told once and again not to slam the door.

  4. once and for all, decisively; finally: Also once for all.

    Let's settle this problem once and for all.

  5. once in a while, at intervals; occasionally:

    She stops in to see us once in a while.

  6. once or twice, a very few times; infrequently:

    I've seen her in the elevator once or twice.

  7. once upon a time, at some unspecified past time, especially a long time ago:

    Once upon a time, in a faraway land, there lived a prince and princess.

More idioms and phrases containing once

  • all at once
  • at once
  • every now and then (once in a while)
  • give someone the once-over

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Example Sentences

Once discovered, this maneuver did not endear the councilors to their constituents.

My doctor insisted that once I filed this piece I lie down on my bed and not get out.

Every once in a while, they act swiftly and acknowledge the problem.

Once I began reading, I realized A Gronking to Remember was a masturbatory tribute to the New England Patriots.

Where the U.S. once depended on its own forces to determine who was military material, this time the Iraqis will decide.

He held it, but it was without pressure; without recognizance of the delight with which he once grasped it.

When his lordship retired early, as was his custom, the other men adjourned once more to the billiard-room.

As Spain, however, has fallen from the high place she once held, her colonial system has also gone down.

Each picture bore a label, giving a true description of the once-honoured gem.

And once more, she found herself desiring to be like Janet--not only in appearance, but in soft manner and tone.


Related Words

Definitions and idiom definitions from 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.




on-cameraonce and for all