- a quick look, examination, or appraisal.
- a quick, superficial job: He gave the car just a once-over with a rag.
Origin of once-over
An Americanism dating back to 1910–15
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for once-over
The two men give each other a once-over, in a way that suggests, why not?Las Vegas Bets Big on Gays
May 28, 2014
Were going to give this valley the once-over with a fine-toothed comb.Slim Evans and his Horse Lightning
Graham M. Dean
Every motor, machine and conveyor in the place was being given the once-over.The Shadow Passes
Roy J. Snell
"And gave you the once-over in the big room," Chan declared.Seed of the Arctic Ice
H. G. Winter
But he came to immediate, and we all stood at attention while he give that bundle the once-over.Believe You Me!
Nina Wilcox Putnam
How about it, Jeff—want to go along and give the big town the once-over or not?J. Poindexter, Colored
Irvin Shrewsbury Cobb
- a quick examination or appraisal
- a quick but comprehensive piece of work
- a violent beating or thrashing (esp in the phrase give (a person or thing) the (or a) once-over)
Word Origin and History for once-over
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper