Origin of at1
Origin of where
Related Words for where it's atcase, status, accident, occurrence, fate, thing, time, detail, crisis, matter, incident, factor, action, coincidence, cause, event, fact, position, situation, plight
the chemical symbol for
Word Origin for at
noun plural at
Word Origin for at
the internet domain name for
- in, at, or to what place, point, or position?where are you going?
- (used in indirect questions)I don't know where they are
Word Origin for where
Old English æt, from Proto-Germanic *at (cf. Old Norse, Gothic at, Old Frisian et, Old High German az), from PIE *ad- "to, near, at" (cf. Latin ad "to, toward" Sanskrit adhi "near;" see ad-).
Lost in German and Dutch, which use their equivalent of to; in Scandinavian, however, to has been lost and at fills its place. In choosing between at church, in church, etc. at is properly distinguished from in or on by involving some practical connection; a worshipper is at church; a tourist is in the church.
The colloquial use of at after where ("where it's at") is attested from 1859. At last is recorded from late 13c.; adverbial phrase at least was in use by 1775. At in Middle English was used freely with prepositions (e.g. at after, which is in Shakespeare), but this has faded with the exception of at about, which was used in modern times by Trollope, Virginia Woolfe, D.H. Lawrence, and Evelyn Waugh, but nonetheless is regarded as a sign of incompetent writing by my copy editor bosses.
Old English hwær, hwar, from Proto-Germanic *khwar (cf. Old Saxon hwar, Old Norse hvar, Old Frisian hwer, Middle Dutch waer, Old High German hwar, German wo, Gothic hvar "where"), from PIE interrogative base *qwo- (see who).
where it's at
Also, where the action is. The key center of activity; where important things are happening. For example, He decided to set up his store here, convinced that this is where it's at, or I'm going into the brokerage business; that's where the action is these days. The action or activity in this phrase can relate to just about anything—financial, political, social, or commercial. [Slang; c. 1960]
In addition to the idioms beginning with where
- where do we go from here
- where it's at
- where one is coming from
- where one lives
- where there's a will, there's a way
- where there's smoke
- close to home (hit where one lives)
- fools rush in where angels fear to tread
- give credit (where credit is due)
- know where one stands
- let the chips fall where they may
- not know where to turn
- put one's money where one's mouth is
- take up where one left off
- tell someone where to get off
- this is where I came in