till 1 (tĭl)
To prepare (land) for the raising of crops, as by plowing and harrowing; cultivate.
[Middle English tillen, from Old English tilian.]
till 2 (tĭl)
[Middle English, from Old English til, from Old Norse.]
Usage Note: Till and until are generally interchangeable in both writing and speech, though as the first word in a sentence until is usually preferred: Until you get that paper written, don't even think about going to the movies. · Till is actually the older word, with until having been formed by the addition to it of the prefix un-, meaning "up to." In the 1700s, the spelling 'till became fashionable, as if till were a shortened form of until. Although 'till is now nonstandard, 'til is sometimes used in this way and is considered acceptable, though it is etymologically incorrect.
till 3 (tĭl)
1. A drawer, small chest, or compartment for money, as in a store.
2. A supply of money; a purse.
[Middle English tille.]
till 4 (tĭl)
Glacial drift composed of an unconsolidated, heterogeneous mixture of clay, sand, pebbles, cobbles, and boulders.
Also (not standard): 'til
short for until
2. Scot to; towards
3. dialect in order that: come here till I tell you.
[Old English til; related to Old Norse til to, Old High German zil goal, aim]
Usage: Till is a variant of until that is acceptable at all levels of language. Until is, however, often preferred at the beginning of a sentence in formal writing: until his behaviour improves, he cannot become a member
1. (Agriculture) to cultivate and work (land) for the raising of crops
(Agriculture) another word for plough
[Old English tilian to try, obtain; related to Old Frisian tilia to obtain, Old Saxon tilōn to obtain, Old High German zilōn to hasten towards]
(Commerce) a box, case, or drawer into which the money taken from customers is put, now usually part of a cash register
[C15 tylle, of obscure origin]
(Geological Science) an unstratified glacial deposit consisting of rock fragments of various sizes. The most common is boulder clay
[C17: of unknown origin]
1. up to the time of; until: to fight till death.
2. before (used in negative constructions): They didn't come till today.
3. before; to: My watch says ten till four.
4. Chiefly Scot. to. conj.
[before 900; Middle English; Old English (north) til
< Old Norse til
to, akin to Old English till
fixed point, Old High German zil
goal, Gothic til opportunity. compare till2
are both very old in the language and are interchangeable as both prepositions and conjunctions: It rained till
) nearly midnight. The savannah remained brown until
) the rains began. till
is not a shortened form of until
and is not spelled 'till. 'til
is usu. considered a spelling error, though commonly used in business and advertising: Open 'til ten.
1. to labor, as by plowing or harrowing, upon (land) for the raising of crops; cultivate. v.i.
2. to cultivate the soil.
[before 900; Middle English tilen,
Old English tilian
to strive after, get, till; c. Old Frisian tilia
to cultivate, Old Saxon tilian
to attain, Old High German zilēn, zilōn to hasten; akin to till1
1. a drawer, box, or the like, in which money is kept, as in a shop.
2. a drawer, tray, or the like, as in a cabinet, chest, or desk, for keeping valuables.
[1425–75; late Middle English tylle < Anglo-French, of uncertain orig.]
glacial drift consisting of an unsorted mixture of clay, sand, gravel, and boulders.
[1665–75; orig. uncertain]
Until and till can be prepositions or conjunctions. There is no difference in meaning between until and till. Till is more common in conversation, and is not used in formal writing.
1. used as prepositions
If you do something until or till a particular time, you stop doing it at that time.
He continued to teach until his death in 1960.
I said I'd work till 4 p.m.
If you want to emphasize that something does not stop before the time you mention, you can use up until, up till, or up to.
Up until 1950 coal provided over 90% of our energy needs.
Eleanor had not up till then taken part in the discussion.
Up to now they've had very little money.
If something does not happen until or till a particular time, it does not happen before that time.
Details will not be available until January.
We didn't get back till two.
2. used with 'after'
You can use until or till with phrases beginning with after.
He decided to wait until after Christmas to propose to Gertrude.
We didn't get home till after midnight.
Don't use 'until' or 'till' to say that something will have happened before a particular time. Don't say, for example, 'The work will be finished until four o'clock'. You say 'The work will be finished by four o'clock'.
By 8.05 the groups were ready.
Total sales reached 1 million by 2010.
3. used with 'from'
From is often used with until or till to say when something finishes and ends.
The ticket office will be open from 10.00am until 1.00pm.
They worked from dawn till dusk.
In sentences like these, you can use to instead of 'until' or 'till'. Some American speakers also use through.
Open daily 1000-1700 from 23rd March to 3rd November.
I was in college from 1985 through 1990.
You only use until or till when you are talking about time. Don't use these words to talk about position. Don't say, for example, 'She walked until the post office'. You say 'She walked as far as the post office'.
They drove as far as the Cantabrian mountains.
4. used as conjunctions
Instead of a noun phrase, you can use a subordinate clause after until or till. You often use the present simple in the subordinate clause.
They concentrate on one language until they go to university.
Stay here with me till help comes.
You can also use the present perfect in the subordinate clause.
I'll wait here until you have had your breakfast.
When you are talking about events in the past, you use the past simple or the past perfect in the subordinate clause.
The plan remained secret until it was exposed by the press.
He continued watching until I had driven off in my car.
Don't use a future form in the subordinate clause. Don't say, for example 'Stay here with me till help will come' or 'I'll wait here until you will have had your breakfast'.