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English definition of “only”


adverb (NOT MORE)    /ˈəʊ US  /ˈoʊn-/
A1 used to show that something is limited to not more than, or is not anything other than, the people, things, amount, or activity stated: At present these televisions are only available in Japan. Only Sue and Mark bothered to turn up for the meeting. This club is for members only. Only an idiot would do that. These shoes only cost £20. Don't worry - it's only a scratch. I was only joking. I was only trying to help. I only arrived half an hour ago. She spoke to me only a few minutes ago on the phone. It's only four o'clock and it's already getting dark. "Who's there?" "It's only me (= it is not someone you should worry about). I've locked myself out." It's only natural that you should worry about your children.Single, double and multiple Grammar:Not only … but alsoWe use not only X but also Y in formal contexts:See moreGrammar:OnlyOnly is an adjective or adverb.See moreGrammar:Only as an adjectiveWe use only as an adjective to mean that there is just one or very few of something, or that there are no others:See moreGrammar:Only as an adverbWe use only as an adverb to mean that something is limited to some people, things, an amount or an activity:See moreGrammar:Only: positionAs an adjective, we use only in front of a noun or one, or before another adjective or a number:See more
(Definition of only adverb (NOT MORE) from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
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