Definition of at preposition from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//ət//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ət//
    ; BrE strong form BrE//æt//
    ; NAmE strong form NAmE//æt//
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  1. 1  used to say where something/somebody is or where something happens at the corner of the street We changed at Crewe. They arrived late at the airport. At the roundabout take the third exit. I'll be at home all morning. She's at Tom's (= at Tom's house). I met her at the hospital. How many people were there at the concert?
  2. 2  used to say where somebody works or studies He's been at the bank longer than anyone else. She's at Yale (= Yale University).
  3. 3  used to say when something happens We left at 2 o'clock. at the end of the week We woke at dawn. I didn't know at the time of writing (= when I wrote). At night you can see the stars. (British English) What are you doing at the weekend?
  4. 4  used to state the age at which somebody does something She got married at 25. He left school at the age of 16.
  5. 5  in the direction of or towards somebody/something What are you looking at? He pointed a gun at her. Somebody threw paint at the prime minister.
  6. 6used after a verb to show that somebody tries to do something, or partly does something, but does not succeed or complete it He clutched wildly at the rope as he fell. She nibbled at a sandwich (= ate only small bits of it).
  7. 7  used to state the distance away from something I held it at arm's length. Can you read a car number plate at fifty metres?
  8. 8  used to show the situation somebody/something is in, what somebody is doing or what is happening The country is now at war. I felt at a disadvantage. I think Mr Harris is at lunch.
  9. 9  used to show a rate, speed, etc. He was driving at 70 mph. The noise came at two-minute intervals (= once every two minutes). Prices start at $1 000. The book retails at £19.95.
  10. 10  at somebody’s/something’s best/worst, etc. used to say that somebody/something is as good, bad, etc. as they can be This was Murray at his best. The garden's at its most beautiful in June.
  11. 11  used with adjectives to show how well somebody does something I'm good at French. She's hopeless at managing people.
  12. 12  used with adjectives to show the cause of something They were impatient at the delay. She was delighted at the result.
  13. 13(formal) in response to something They attended the dinner at the chairman's invitation.
  14. 14  (North American English) used when giving a telephone number You can reach me at 637-2335, extension 354.
  15. 15   (computing) the symbol (@ ) used in email addresses See related entries: Punctuation
  16. Word OriginOld English æt, of Germanic origin; related to Old Frisian et and Old Norse at, from an Indo-European root shared by Latin ad ‘to’.Idioms used when you are giving an extra piece of information He managed to buy a car after all—and a nice one at that. to be doing something, especially something bad Look at all that graffiti—those kids have been at it again. (informal) a place or an activity that is very popular or fashionable Judging by the crowds waiting to get in, this seems to be where it's at.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: at