• synonyms


[th en]
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  1. at that time: Prices were lower then.
  2. immediately or soon afterward: The rain stopped and then started again.
  3. next in order of time: We ate, then we started home.
  4. at the same time: At first the water seemed blue, then gray.
  5. next in order of place: Standing beside Charlie is my uncle, then my cousin, then my brother.
  6. in addition; besides; also: I love my job, and then it pays so well.
  7. in that case; as a consequence; in those circumstances: If you're sick, then you should stay in bed.
  8. since that is so; as it appears; therefore: You have, then, found the mistake? You are leaving tonight then.
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  1. being; being such; existing or being at the time indicated: the then prime minister.
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  1. that time: We have not been back since then. Till then, farewell.
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  1. but then, but on the other hand: I found their conversation very dull, but then I have different tastes.
  2. then and there, at that precise time and place; at once; on the spot: I started to pack my things right then and there.Also there and then.
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Origin of then

before 900; Middle English then(ne), than(n)e, Old English thonne, thanne, thænne; cf. than; akin to that
Can be confusedthan then

Synonym study

8. See therefore.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for then

suddenly, again, later, formerly, next, thus, so, anon, thereupon, when, accordingly, consequently, ergo, hence, whence, thence, thenceforth

British Dictionary definitions for then


  1. at that time; over that period of time
  2. (sentence modifier) in that case; that being sothen why don't you ask her?; if he comes, then you'll have to leave; go on then, take it
  3. then and there See there (def. 6)
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sentence connector
  1. after that; with thatthen John left the room and didn't return
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  1. that timebefore then; from then on
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  1. (prenominal) existing, functioning, etc, at that timethe then prime minister
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Word Origin for then

Old English thenne; related to Old Saxon, Old High German thanna; see than
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 then

adverb of time, from Old English þanne, þænne, þonne, from Proto-Germanic *thana- (cf. Old Frisian thenne, Old Saxon thanna, Dutch dan, Old High German danne, German dann), from PIE demonstrative pronoun root *to- (see the). For further sense development, see than. Similar evolutions in other Germanic languages; Dutch uses dan in both senses, but German has dann (adv.) "then," denn (conj.) "than." Now and then "at various times" is attested from 1550s; earlier then and then (c.1200).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with then


In addition to the idioms beginning with then

  • then again
  • then and there

also see:

  • and then some
  • every now and then
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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.