- without others or anything further; alone; solely; exclusively: This information is for your eyes only.
- no more than; merely; just: If it were only true! I cook only on weekends.
- as recently as: I read that article only yesterday.
- in the final outcome or decision: You will only regret your harsh words to me.
- being the single one or the relatively few of the kind: This is the only pencil I can find.
- having no sibling or no sibling of the same sex: an only child; an only son.
- single in superiority or distinction; unique; the best: the one and only Muhammad Ali.
- but (introducing a single restriction, restraining circumstance, or the like): I would have gone, only you objected.
- Older Use. except; but: Only for him you would not be here.
- only too,
- as a matter of fact; extremely: I am only too glad to go.
- unfortunately; very: It is only too likely to happen.
Origin of only
Synonyms for only
Antonyms for only
- the only being single or very few in numberthe only men left in town were too old to bear arms
- (of a child) having no siblings
- unique by virtue of being superior to anything else; peerless
- one and only
- (adjective)incomparable; unique
- (as noun)the object of all one's loveyou are my one and only
- without anyone or anything else being included; aloneyou have one choice only; only a genius can do that
- merely or justit's only Henry
- no more or no greater thanwe met only an hour ago
- Irish (intensifier)she was only marvellous; it was only dreadful
- used in conditional clauses introduced by if to emphasize the impossibility of the condition ever being fulfilledif I had only known, this would never have happened
- not earlier than; not…untilI only found out yesterday
- if only an expression used to introduce a wish, esp one felt to be unrealizable
- only if never…except when
- only too
- (intensifier)he was only too pleased to help
- most regrettably (esp in the phrase only too true)
- but; however: used to introduce an exception or conditionplay outside: only don't go into the street
Word Origin for only
Old English ænlic, anlic "only, unique, solitary," literally "one-like," from an "one" (see one) + -lic "-like" (see -ly (1)). Use as an adverb and conjunction developed in Middle English. Distinction of only and alone (now usually in reference to emotional states) is unusual; in many languages the same word serves for both. German also has a distinction in allein/einzig. Phrase only-begotten (mid-15c.) is biblical, translating Latin unigenitus, Greek monogenes. The Old English form was ancenned.
At the very least, as a matter of fact, as in I know only too well that I can't win the lottery. This usage was first recorded in 1817.
Very, extremely, as in I am only too glad to help. This usage was first recorded in 1899.
In addition to the idioms beginning with only
- only game in town, the
- only too
- beauty is only skin deep
- have an eye (eyes only) for
- if only
- in name only
- not the only fish in the sea
- one and only