[ soo-ner ]
/ ˈsu nər /
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the comparative form of soon.
within a shorter period:That day will come sooner than you think.
earlier:I just wish I'd done it sooner.
in preference to something else; more willingly or readily; rather:We might sooner trust the wind than trust our own frail resolutions.
more likely or easily:It's a color you might sooner expect to find on a Lamborghini than on a BMW.
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Idioms about sooner

    sooner or later, eventually:Sooner or later his luck will run out.
    would sooner, to prefer to; to prefer that:I would sooner not go to their party.I'd sooner you did the recording, as you're better at it than I am.Compare rather (def. 9).

Origin of sooner

First recorded in 1200–50; Middle English soner(e), sonor(e), sonre; soon + -er5

Other definitions for sooner (2 of 3)

[ soo-ner ]
/ ˈsu nər /

a person who settles on government land before it is legally opened to settlers in order to gain the choice of location.
a person who gains an unfair advantage by getting ahead of others.

Origin of sooner

An Americanism dating back to 1885–90; soon + -er1

Other definitions for sooner (3 of 3)

[ soo-ner ]
/ ˈsu nər /

a native or inhabitant of Oklahoma (the Sooner State ) (used as a nickname).
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What else does Sooner mean?

A Sooner is a person who lives in the state of Oklahoma.

It is also a nickname for students and athletes at the University of Oklahoma.

Where does Sooner come from?

Sooner means “a person who settles on government land before it is legally opened to settlers in order to gain the choice of location.” It comes from a section of the Indian Appropriations Act of 1889, which became known as the “sooner clause” and was applied to residents of modern-day Oklahoma who moved to the state before the time designated by the federal government.

The name stuck, and today it’s a demonym for all people who live in Oklahoma, which is (not surprisingly) known as the Sooner State.

The name is also used to describe the athletes at the University of Oklahoma. The school’s athletics mascot is the Sooner Schooner, a Conestoga wagon which is drawn at sporting events by two horses named Boomer and (you guessed it) Sooner.

How is Sooner used in real life?

The way Sooner is used depends on who is using it. Residents of the state may describe themselves as proud Sooners, while people outside the state may describe folks who live in Oklahoma as such.

University of Oklahoma athletes, students, and fans use the hashtags “#Sooners” and “#SoonerNation” on social media in reference to the school and its activities.

Although Oklahoma state residents who attend Oklahoma State University are technically Sooners because of where they live, they tend to avoid using the name of their sports rival.


This content is not meant to be a formal definition of this term. Rather, it is an informal summary that seeks to provide supplemental information and context important to know or keep in mind about the term’s history, meaning, and usage.

How to use sooner in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for sooner

/ (ˈsuːnə) /

the comparative of soon he came sooner than I thought
rather; in preferenceI'd sooner die than give up
no sooner…than immediately after or whenno sooner had he got home than the rain stopped; no sooner said than done
sooner or later eventually; inevitably

usage for sooner

When is sometimes used instead of than after no sooner, but this use is generally regarded as incorrect: no sooner had he arrived than (not when) the telephone rang
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