once Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary Cambridge dictionaries logo

Meaning of “once” in the English Dictionary

"once" in British English

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onceadverb

uk   us   /wʌns/
  • once adverb (ONE TIME)

A2 one ​singletime: 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 ​startedtalking 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 ​particularoccasion: All ​right, I'll ​lend you the ​money - just this once.once again (also once more) B1 again, as has ​happened before: Once again, ​racistattacks are ​increasingacrossEurope.once more B1 one more ​time: I'd like to ​visit the ​campus once more before we ​leave. again, as has ​happened before: When my ​father came ​home, everything ​feltright 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 ​finallysolve a ​problem: Our ​intention is to ​destroytheiroffensivecapability 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 UK on a ​singleoccasion: I've only ​playedrugby the once, and I never ​want to ​play it again.

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  • once adverb (PAST)

B1 in the past, but not now: This ​house once ​belonged to my ​grandfather. Computers are much ​cheapernowadays than they once were. Once-thriving ​villagesstanddeserted and in ​ruins.

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onceconjunction

uk   us   /wʌns/
B2 as ​soon as, or from the ​moment when: Once I've ​foundsomewhere 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.

expend iconexpend iconMore examples

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

"once" in American English

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onceadverb [not gradable]

 us   /wʌns/
on or at a ​singletime: I went to Disney ​World once. The ​bookclubmeets once a ​month. Going to the ​Olympics is a once-in-a-lifetime ​opportunity (= a ​rare and ​valuable one).
in the past, but not now: I ​lived in Milwaukee once. Computers are much ​cheaper now than they once were.

onceconjunction

 us   /wʌns/
  • once conjunction (AS SOON AS)

as ​soon as, or when: Once you’ve ​triedtheiricecream, you’ll be back for more.
(Definition of once from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
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“once” in British English

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