Definition of one pronoun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//wʌn//
    ; NAmE NAmE//wʌn//
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  1. 1  used to avoid repeating a noun, when you are referring to somebody/something that has already been mentioned, or that the person you are speaking to knows about I'd like an ice cream. Are you having one, too? Our car's always breaking down. But we're getting a new one soon. She was wearing her new dress, the red one. My favourite band? Oh, that's a hard one (= a hard question). What made you choose the one rather than the other? (British English) How about those ones over there? Grammar Pointone / onesOne/ones is used to avoid repeating a countable noun, but there are some times when you should not use it, especially in formal speech or writing: After a possessive (my, your, Mary’s, etc.), some, any, both or a number, unless it is used with an adjective:‘Did you get any postcards?’ ‘Yes, I bought four nice ones.’ I bought four ones. It can be left out after superlatives, this, that, these, those, either, neither, another, which, etc:‘Here are the designs. Which (one) do you prefer?’ ‘I think that (one) looks the most original.’ These ones and those ones are not used in North American English, and are unusual in British English:Do you prefer these designs or those? It is never used to replace uncountable nouns and is unusual with abstract countable nouns:The Scottish legal system is not the same as the English system, is better than…as the English one.
  2. 2  used when you are identifying the person or thing you are talking about Our house is the one next to the school. The students who are most successful are usually the ones who come to all the classes.
  3. 3  one of a person or thing belonging to a particular group It's a present for one of my children. We think of you as one of the family.
  4. 4  a person of the type mentioned 10 o’clock is too late for the little ones. He ached to be home with his loved ones. one to do something She was never one to criticize.
  5. 5  (formal) used to mean ‘people in general’ or ‘I’, when the speaker is referring to himself or herself One should never criticize if one is not sure of one's facts. One gets the impression that they disapprove. This use of one is very formal and now sounds old-fashioned. It is much more usual to use you for ‘people in general’ and I when you are talking about yourself.
  6. 6a one (old-fashioned, especially British English) a person whose behaviour is amusing or surprising Oh, you are a one!
  7. 7the one about something the joke Have you heard the one about the Englishman, the Irishman and the Scotsman?
  8. Word OriginOld English ān, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch een and German ein, from an Indo-European root shared by Latin unus. The initial w sound developed before the 15th cent. and was occasionally represented in the spelling; it was not accepted into standard English until the late 17th cent.Idioms
    be (a) one for (doing) something
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    to be a person who enjoys something, or who does something often or well I've never been a great one for fish and chips.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: one