American English

Definition of then adverb from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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  1. 1used to refer to a particular time in the past or future Life was harder then because neither of us had a job. Things were very different back then. She grew up in Zimbabwe, or Rhodesia as it then was. I saw them at Christmas but haven't heard a thing since then. I've been invited too, so I'll see you then. There's a room free in Bob's house next week but you can stay with us until then. Call again next week. They should have reached a decision by then. Just then (= at that moment) there was a knock at the door. She left in 1984 and from then on he lived alone. I took one look at the car and offered to buy it there and then/then and there (= immediately).
  2. 2used to introduce the next item in a series of actions, events, instructions, etc. He drank a glass of whiskey, then another, and then another. First cook the onions, then add the mushrooms. We lived in France and then Italy before coming back to the United States. Language Bankprocessdescribing a process This diagram illustrates the process of paper-making. / This diagram shows how paper is made. First/First of all, logs are delivered to a paper mill, where the bark is removed and the wood is cut into small chips. Next/Second, the wood chips are pulped, either using chemicals or in a pulping machine. Pulping breaks down the internal structure of the wood and enables/allows the natural oils to be removed. Once/After the wood has been pulped, the pulp is bleached in order to remove impurities. /…is bleached so that impurities can be removed. The next stage is to feed the pulp into the paper machine, where it is mixed with water and then poured onto a wire conveyor belt. As the pulp travels along the conveyor belt, the water drains away. This causes the solid material to sink to the bottom, forming a layer of paper. At this point the new paper is still wet, so it is passed between large heated rollers, which press out the remaining water and simultaneously dry the paper. / …dry the paper at the same time. The final stage is to wind the paper onto large rolls. /Finally, the paper is wound onto large rolls.
  3. 3used to show the logical result of a particular statement or situation If you miss that train then you'll have to get a taxi. “My wife got a job in Chicago.” “I take it you'll be moving, then.” “You haven't done anything to upset me.” “So what's wrong, then?” Why don't you rent a car? Then you'll be able to visit more of the area.
  4. 4used to introduce additional information She's been very busy at work and then there was all that trouble with her son.
  5. 5(formal) used to introduce a summary of something that has just been said These, then, are the main areas of concern.
  6. 6used to show the beginning or end of a conversation, statement, etc. Right then, where do you want the table to go? “I really have to go.” “OK. Bye, then.” OK then, I think we've just about covered everything on the agenda.
  7. Idioms
    …and then some (informal)
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    used to emphasize the large amount or number of something, and to say that you have not mentioned everything There are Indian, Chinese, Mexican, Thai restaurants… and then some!
    but then, then again, but then again (informal)
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    used to introduce additional information or information that contrasts with something that has just been said She was early, but then again, she always is. “So you might accept their offer?” “Yes, then again I might not.”
    (every) now and again/then
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    from time to time; occasionally Every now and again she checked to see if he was still asleep.
    now, now (also now then)
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    used to show in a mild way that you do not approve of something Now then, that's enough noise.
    1. 1= now, now
    2. 2used when making a suggestion or an offer Now then, who wants to come for a walk?
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: then