• synonyms


[wuhn-on-wuhn, -awn-]
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  1. consisting of or involving direct individual competition, confrontation, or communication; person-to-person: a one-on-one discussion.
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  1. in direct encounter: I'd rather settle this with her one-on-one.
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  1. a meeting or confrontation between two persons.
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  1. go one-on-one with, Sports. to play directly against (an opposing player).
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Origin of one-on-one

An Americanism dating back to 1965–70
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for one on one

showdown, contest, convention, competition, session, talk, reunion, date, encounter, confrontation, fight, duel, clash, antagonism, jealousy, strife, race, struggle, event, conflict

British Dictionary definitions for one on one


  1. denoting a relationship or encounter in which someone is involved with only one other persona one-on-one meeting
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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 one on one

one on one

A direct encounter between two persons, especially a conflict, as in The two department heads went one on one regarding shelf space. This slangy expression almost certainly comes from sports. It is commonly used to refer to a two-person basketball game, but is also applied to the interaction of two players on opposing teams in football, soccer, and similar team sports. [c. 1960]

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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.