American English

Definition of ever adverb from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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  1. 1used in negative sentences and questions, or sentences with if, to mean “at any time” Nothing ever happens here. Don't you ever get tired? If you're ever in Miami, come and see us. “Have you ever thought of a career change?” “No, never/No I haven't.” “Have you ever been to Rome?” “Yes, I have, actually. Not long ago.” She hardly ever (= almost never) goes out. We see them very seldom,if ever. (informal) I'll never ever do that again!
  2. 2used for emphasis when you are comparing things It was raining harder than ever. It's my best ever score.
  3. 3(rather formal) all the time or every time; always Paul, ever the optimist, agreed to try again. She married the prince and they lived happily ever after. He said he would love her for ever and ever. Their debts grew ever larger (= kept increasing). the ever-growing problem an ever-present danger
  4. 4used after when, why, etc. to show that you are surprised or shocked Why ever did you agree?
  5. Idioms
    all somebody ever does is …
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    used to emphasize that someone does the same thing very often, usually in an annoying way All he ever does is grumble about things.
    did you ever (…)! (old-fashioned) (informal)
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    used to show that you are surprised or shocked Did you ever hear anything like it?
    ever since (…)
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    continuously since the time mentioned He's had a car ever since he was 18. I was bitten by a dog once and I've been afraid of them ever since.
    if ever there was (one) (informal)
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    used to emphasize that something is certainly true That was a disaster if ever there was one!
    was/is/does, etc. somebody ever! (informal)
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    used to emphasize something you are talking about “You must have been upset by that.” “Was I ever!”
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: ever

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