American English

Definition of at preposition from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



    , NAmE//æt//
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  1. 1used to say where something or someone is or where something happens at the corner of the street We transferred at Grand Central. They arrived late at the airport. At the traffic circle, take a right. 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. 2used to say where someone works or studies He's been at the bank longer than anyone else. She's at Yale (= Yale University).
  3. 3used to say when something happens We left at 2 o'clock. at the end of the week We woke at dawn. I don't know where she is at the moment (= now). At night you can see the stars. What are you doing at 8?
  4. 4used to state the age at which someone does something She got married at 25. He left home at the age of 18.
  5. 5in the direction of or toward someone or something What are you looking at? He pointed a gun at her. Somebody threw stones at the protesters.
  6. 6used after a verb to show that someone 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. 7used to state the distance away from something I held it at arm's length.
  8. 8used to show the situation someone or something is in, what someone is doing, or what is happening The country is now at war. I felt like I was at a disadvantage. I think Mr. Harris is at lunch.
  9. 9used 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. 10at somebody's/something's best/worst, etc. used to say that someone or 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. 11used with adjectives to show how well someone does something I'm good at French. She's hopeless at managing people.
  12. 12used 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. 14used when giving a telephone number You can reach me at 637-2335, extension 354.
  15. 15(computing) the symbol (@ ) used in e-mail addresses
  16. 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.
    be at it again (informal)
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    to be doing something, especially something bad Look at all that graffiti—those kids have been at it again.
    where it's at (informal)
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    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 Learner's Dictionary entry: at