Definition of once adverb from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//wʌns//
    ; NAmE NAmE//wʌns//
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  1. 1  on one occasion only; one time I've only been there once. He cleans his car once a week. She only sees her parents once every six months. (informal) He only did it the once.
  2. 2  at some time in the past I once met your mother. He once lived in Zambia. This book was famous once, but nobody reads it today.
  3. 3used in negative sentences and questions, and after if to mean ‘ever’ or ‘at all’ He never once offered to help. If she once decides to do something, you won't change her mind.
  4. Word OriginMiddle English ones, genitive of one. The spelling change in the 16th cent. was in order to retain the unvoiced sound of the final consonant.Idioms
    1. 1  suddenly All at once she lost her temper.
    2. 2  all together; at the same time synonym simultaneously I can't do everything all at once—you'll have to be patient.
    1. 1  immediately; without delay Come here at once!
    2. 2at the same time synonym simultaneously Don't all speak at once! I can't do two things at once.
    (just) for once, just this once
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    (informal) on this occasion (which is in contrast to what happens usually) Just for once he arrived on time. Can't you be nice to each other just this once?
    going once, going twice, sold (especially North American English) (British English also going, going, gone)
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    said by an auctioneer to show that an item has been sold
     one more time; another time Once again the train was late. Let me hear it just once more. used to say that somebody cannot change Once an actor, always an actor. now and for the last time; finally or completely We need to settle this once and for all. (saying) after an unpleasant experience you are careful to avoid something similar (informal) very rarely
    (every) once in a while
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     a few times I don't know her well, I've only met her once or twice. used to say that somebody has done something wrong or stupid again, and this time they will suffer because of it You've tried that trick once too often. used, especially at the beginning of stories, to mean ‘a long time in the past’ Once upon a time there was a beautiful princess.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: once