Meaning of “then” in the English Dictionary

"then" in British English

See all translations

thenadverb, adjective [ before noun ]

uk /ðen/ us /ðen/

A1 (at) that time (in the past or in the future):

I was working in the city then.
formal I wanted to live in the city, but my then husband (= the man who was my husband at that time) preferred the country.
Give it to me next week - I won't have time to read it before/until then.
I'll call you tomorrow - I should have the details by then.

More examples

  • He's always harking back to his childhood and saying how things were better then.
  • Just then, the lights went out.
  • The train leaves at three minutes to eight, so we'd better get there a few minutes before then.
  • If you come to the surgery at 10.30, the doctor will see you then.
  • They used to live in a big house with lots of servants, but they've come down in the world since then.


uk /ðen/ us /ðen/

then adverb (NEXT)

A1 next or after that:

Let me finish this job, then we'll go.
Give her the letter to read, then she'll understand.

More examples

  • Study the examples first of all, then attempt the exercises on the next page.
  • Follow the road for two kilometres, then turn left.
  • The children will first sing individually and then together as a group.
  • We took the ferry across the Channel and then joined the Paris train at Calais.
  • First apply shampoo to hair and then rinse thoroughly.

then adverb (IN ADDITION)

B2 in addition:

This is the standard model - then there's the deluxe version which costs more.

More examples

  • We have a town house, a country cottage, and then there's our villa in Spain.
  • She's a writer mainly - then she paints, and does some excellent photography too.
  • I've got to get everything ready for our visitors, and then I haven't finished writing that report yet.
  • If you're looking for something smaller, then there's a compact 36 cm screen size, ideal for bedroom or kitchen use.
  • Let's see - there were Mary, Jack, Greg and myself - then there were the children, Amy, John and Laura, plus the two dogs.

then adverb (RESULT)

A2 as a result; in that case; also used as a way of joining a statement to an earlier piece of conversation:

Have a rest now, and then you won't be so tired tonight.
You'll be selling your house, then?

More examples

  • If you plan the project well, then everything should fall into place.
  • Try and get some sleep on the plane, then you'll arrive feeling fresh.
  • I'll leave you to get on then, shall I?
  • If there are only five of us going to the concert, then I've booked one too many seats.
  • If 2x = 8, then x = 4.

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

"then" in American English

See all translations

thenadjective, adverb [ not gradable ]

us /ðen/

then adjective, adverb [ not gradable ] (TIME)

at that time (in the past or in the future):

She was then sixteen years old.
Soon the sun will go down, and then it will be time to go.

thenadverb [ not gradable ]

us /ðen/

then adverb [ not gradable ] (NEXT)

next or after that:

He smiled, then turned to me and nodded.

then adverb [ not gradable ] (IN ADDITION)

in addition:

We both want to go, and then there’s Carmen, so we need three tickets.

then adverb [ not gradable ] (AS A RESULT)

as a result; in that case; also used as a way of joining a statement to an earlier piece of conversation:

Why don’t you call them to tell them we’ll be late? Then they won’t worry.
If I don’t hear from you by Friday, then I’ll assume you’re not coming.

(Definition of “then” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)