noun Informal.

a quick look, examination, or appraisal.
a quick, superficial job: He gave the car just a once-over with a rag.

Nearby words

  1. once in a lifetime,
  2. once in a while,
  3. once more unto the breach, dear friends,
  4. once over lightly,
  5. once upon a time,
  6. once-over-lightly,
  7. oncer,
  8. onchocerca,
  9. onchocerciasis,
  10. oncidium

Origin of once-over

An Americanism dating back to 1910–15

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for once-over

British Dictionary definitions for once-over


noun informal

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)
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 once-over



"inspection," 1913, from once + over.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper