Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “once”

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.

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.

once

(Definition of once from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
What is the pronunciation of once?
Browse related topics

You are looking at an entry to do with Complete and whole, but you might be interested in these topics from the Full and empty topic area:

Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

Definitions of “once” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day

see the light of day

When something sees the light of day, it appears for the first time.

Word of the Day

Highly delighted, bitterly disappointed, ridiculously cheap: adverbs for emphasis.

by Liz Walter,
October 22, 2014
We often make adjectives stronger by putting an adverb in front of them. The most common ones are very and, for a stronger meaning, extremely: He was very pleased. The ship is extremely large. However, we don’t use very or extremely for adjectives that already have a strong meaning, for example fantastic,

Read More 

life tracking noun

October 20, 2014
the use of one or more devices or apps to monitor health, exercise, how time is spent, etc.

Read More