at Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary Cambridge dictionaries logo

Meaning of “at” in the English Dictionary

"at" in British English

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atpreposition

uk   weak /ət/ strong /æt/  us   /ət/  /æt/
  • at preposition (PLACE)

A1 used to show an ​exactposition or ​particularplace: We'll ​meet you at the ​entrance. That ​bit at the ​beginning of the ​film was ​brilliant. She's ​sitting at the ​table in the ​corner. She was ​standing at the ​top of the ​stairs. The ​dog came and ​lay down at (= next to) my ​feet. There's someone at the ​door (= someone is ​outside and ​wants to come in). We ​spent the ​afternoon at a ​footballmatch. I ​enjoyed my three ​years at ​university. I called her but she was at ​lunch (= away, ​eating her ​lunch).

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  • at preposition (TIME)

A1 used to show an ​exact or a ​particulartime: There's a ​meeting at 2.30 this ​afternoon. Are you ​free at ​lunchtime? In ​theory, women can still have ​children at the ​age of 50. The ​bellsring at ​regularintervals through the ​day. At no time/​point did the ​company do anything ​illegal. I'm ​busy at the ​moment (= now) - can you ​call back ​later? It's a ​shame I wasn't here to ​meet you - I was ​overseas at the ​time (= then).

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  • at preposition (DIRECTION)

A1 in the ​direction of: She ​smiled at me. They ​waved at us as we ​drove by. She ​aimed at the ​target. "Look at me! Look at me!" called the little ​girl. He's always ​shouting at the ​children.

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  • at preposition (CAUSE)

A2 used to show the ​cause of something, ​especially a ​feeling: We were ​surprised at the ​news. I was ​quiteexcited at the ​prospect. Why does no one ​everlaugh at my ​jokes?

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  • at preposition (ACTIVITY)

B1 used to show the ​activity in which someone's ​ability is being ​judged: I was never very good at ​sports. He's very good at getting on with ​people. She's ​hopeless at ​organizing things.

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  • at preposition (EMAIL ADDRESS)

A1 the @ ​symbol that ​joins the ​name of a ​person or a ​department in an ​organization to a ​domainname to make an ​emailaddress: "What's ​youremailaddress?" "It's ​dictionary at cambridge ​dotorg."

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  • at preposition (AMOUNT)

B2 used to show a ​price, ​temperature, ​rate, ​speed, etc.: I'm not going to ​buy those ​shoes at $150! Inflation is ​running at 5 ​percent. He was ​driving at 120 ​mph when the ​policespotted him. (usually @) used in ​financialrecords to show the ​price, ​rate, etc. of a ​particular thing or of each of a ​number of things on a ​list: 50 ​units @ £4.75

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  • at preposition (CONDITION)

used to show a ​state, ​condition, or ​continuousactivity: a ​country at ​war children at ​play

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(Definition of at from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"at" in American English

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atpreposition

 us   /æt, ət/
  • at preposition (PLACE/TIME)

used to show a ​particularplace or a ​particulartime: I’ll ​meet you at the ​theater at 7:45 ​tonight. Call me at ​work. There’s someone at the ​door (= ​outside the ​door). I wasn’t here to ​meet you because I was in Detroit at the ​time (= then).
  • at preposition (DIRECTION)

in the ​direction of: They ​waved at us as we ​drove by. She ​aimed at the ​target, but ​missed.
  • at preposition (CAUSE)

used to show the ​cause of something, esp. a ​feeling: I was so ​happy at the ​news.
  • at preposition (CONDITION)

used to show a ​state, ​condition, or ​continuousactivity: The ​country was at ​peace/​war. I ​lovewatching the ​children at ​play. She was hard at ​work (= ​working hard).
  • at preposition (AMOUNT)

used to show a ​price, ​temperature, ​rate, ​speed, etc.: They’re ​selling these ​coats at 30% off this ​week.
  • at preposition (JUDGMENT)

used to show the ​activity in which someone’s ​ability is being ​judged: I’m really not very good at ​math. Sheila is really ​terrible at getting to ​places on ​time.
  • at preposition (THE MOST)

used before a ​superlative: I’m ​afraid we can only ​pay you $12 an ​hour at (the) most. At ​best you’ll get to ​speak to some ​assistant – you’ll never ​reach anyone ​important.
(Definition of at from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
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