Idioms

Origin of once

before 1150; Middle English ones, Old English ānes, orig. genitive of ān one; replacing Middle English enes, Old English ǣnes once, equivalent to ǣne once (orig. instrumental of ān) + -es adv. suffix; see -s1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for once upon a time

once

/ (wʌns) /

adverb

conjunction

(subordinating) as soon as; if ever or wheneveronce you begin, you'll enjoy it

noun

Word Origin for once

C12 ones, ānes, adverbial genitive of on, ān one
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 once upon a time (1 of 2)

once upon a time


On some past occasion, as in I may have sung this piece once upon a time, but I don't really remember it. This phrase, first recorded in 1595, is frequently used as the opening line of fairy tales and stories told to children, as in Once upon a time there was a king who had three beautiful daughters.

Idioms and Phrases with once upon a time (2 of 2)

once


In addition to the idioms beginning with once

  • once and for all
  • once bitten, twice shy
  • once in a blue moon
  • once in a lifetime
  • once in a while
  • once over lightly
  • once upon a time

also see:

  • all at once
  • at once
  • every now and then (once in a while)
  • give someone the once-over
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.