at once

Also found in: Thesaurus, Acronyms, Idioms.


1. One time only: once a day.
2. At one time in the past; formerly.
3. At any time; ever: Once known, his face is never forgotten.
4. By one degree of relationship: my first cousin once removed.
A single occurrence; one time: Once will have to do. You can go just this once.
As soon as; if ever; when: Once he goes, we can clean up.
Having been formerly; former: the once capital of the nation.
at once
1. All at one time; simultaneously: Everything happened at once. The view of the skyline is at once awesome, grand, and disappointing.
2. Immediately; instantly: Leave the room at once.
once more/again
1. Another time; again: Could you repeat yourself once more?
2. As usual; in typical fashion: Once more, you've proven yourself inept at chess.

[Middle English ones, from on, one, from Old English ān; see oi-no- in Indo-European roots.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend: once - without delay or hesitationat once - without delay or hesitation; with no time intervening; "he answered immediately"; "found an answer straightaway"; "an official accused of dishonesty should be suspended forthwith"; "Come here now!" once - simultaneouslyat once - simultaneously; "he took three cookies at a time"
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.
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(wans) adverb
1. a single time. He did it once; If I could see her once again I would be happy.
2. at a time in the past. I once wanted to be a dancer.
when; as soon as. Once (it had been) unlocked, the door opened easily.
at once
immediately. Go away at once!
(just) for once
as an exception. Why can't you be nice to her for once?
once and for all
once and finally. Once and for all, I refuse!
once in a while
occasionally. I meet him once in a while at the club.
Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary © 2006-2013 K Dictionaries Ltd.
References in classic literature ?
He realised at once that this could be none other than the nixy of the mill-pond, and in his terror he didn't know if he should fly away or remain where he was.
Bruno needed no second invitation: he at once began arranging the dead mouse as a kind of sofa.
It may seem incredible, but a day or two after, Madame Epanchin sent a servant with a note begging him to return, and Colia, without standing on his dignity, did so at once.
She at once made herself a salad of it, and ate it greedily.
"I'd been scrubbing the deck, and all at once a chap said to me:
To his great surprise, he heard her saying to some one inside, "Rejoice my children; I am bringing you a nice fat youth." And other voices replied, "Where is he, mamma, that we may eat him at once, as we are very hungry?"
Their voluminousness of wristband, with an air of excessive frankness, should betray them at once.
You must hasten at once to the court of Ptarth, and by your presence there as well as by your words assure him that his suspicions are groundless.
He did at once, and without the smallest effort, keep the promise he had made her--always to think well of all men, and to like everyone always.
The old woman glanced for a moment at the pledge, but at once stared in the eyes of her uninvited visitor.