[ uhn-til ]
See synonyms for until on Thesaurus.com
  1. up to the time that or when; till: He read until his guests arrived.

  2. before (usually used in negative constructions): They did not come until the meeting was half over.

  1. onward to or till (a specified time or occurrence): She worked until 6 p.m.

  2. before (usually used in negative constructions): He did not go until night.

  1. Scot. and North England. to; unto.

Origin of until

1150–1200; Middle English untill, equivalent to un- (<Old Norse unz up to, as far as) + tilltill1

confusables note For until

See till1.

Words Nearby until

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use until in a sentence

  • The plant as a whole remains green until late in the autumn.

    How to Know the Ferns | S. Leonard Bastin
  • He didn't need to wait—as the birds did—until an angleworm stuck his head above ground.

    The Tale of Grandfather Mole | Arthur Scott Bailey
  • No man should regard the subject of religion as decided for him until he has read The Golden Bough.

    God and my Neighbour | Robert Blatchford
  • Here is a chair, Monsieur Arden; but you can hardly see it until your eyes have grown a little accustomed to our crpuscula.

    Checkmate | Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu
  • Aguinaldo withheld his decision until Paterno could report to him the definite opinions of his generals.

    The Philippine Islands | John Foreman

British Dictionary definitions for until


/ (ʌnˈtɪl) /

  1. up to (a time) that: he laughed until he cried

  2. (used with a negative) before (a time or event): until you change, you can't go out

  1. (often preceded by up) in or throughout the period before: he waited until six

  2. (used with a negative) earlier than; before: he won't come until tomorrow

Origin of until

C13 untill; related to Old High German unt unto, until, Old Norse und; see till 1

usage For until

The use of until such time as (as in industrial action will continue until such time as our demands are met) is unnecessary and should be avoided: industrial action will continue until our demands are met

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with until


see put off until tomorrow; talk one's arm off (until blue in the face). Also see under till.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.