Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “once”

See all translations

once

adverb uk   /wʌns/ us  

once adverb (ONE TIME)

A2 one single time: I went sailing once, but I didn't like it. We have lunch together once a month.at once C1 at the same time: They all started talking at once.for once B2 used when something happens that does not usually happen: For once, the bus came on time.just this once used to say that you will only do or request something on this particular occasion: All right, I'll give you a lift - just this once.once again ( also once more) B1 again, as has happened before: Once again, racist attacks are increasing across Europe.once more B1 one more time: I'd like to visit the colleges once more before we leave. again, as has happened before: I'm pleased that Daniel's working with us once more.once or twice a few times: I've seen him once or twice in town.(every) once in a while B2 sometimes but not often: We meet for lunch once in a while.once and for all C2 completely and in a way that will finally solve a problem: Our intention is to destroy their offensive capability once and for all.once in a lifetime only likely to happen once in a person's life: An opportunity as good as this arises once in a lifetime. the once on a single occasion: I've only played rugby the once, and I never want to play it again.
More examples

once adverb (PAST)

B1 in the past, but not now: This house once belonged to my grandfather. Computers are much cheaper nowadays than they once were. Once-thriving villages stand deserted and in ruins.
More examples

once

conjunction uk   /wʌns/ us  
B2 as soon as, or from the moment when: Once I've found somewhere to live I'll send you my address. Remember that you won't be able to cancel the contract once you've signed.at once B1 immediately: I knew at once that I'd like it here.
More examples
(Definition of once from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
What is the pronunciation of once?
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

Definitions of “once” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day

ellipsis

a situation in which words are left out of a sentence but the sentence can still be understood

Word of the Day

Euphemisms (Words used to Avoid Offending People)

by Kate Woodford,
March 04, 2015
​​​ We recently looked at the language that we use to describe lies and lying. One area of lying that we considered was ‘being slightly dishonest, or not speaking the complete truth’. One reason for not speaking the complete truth is to avoid saying something that might upset or offend people. Words and

Read More 

snapchat verb

March 02, 2015
to send someone a message using the photomessaging application Snapchat We used to have a thing until he got a girlfriend. now

Read More