only

Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to: navigation, search

English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Old English ǣnlīċ, from Germanic; corresponding to one + -ly/-like. Cognate with Swedish enlig (unified), and obsolete Dutch eenlijk.

Pronunciation[edit]

  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈəʊn.lɪ/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈoʊn.li/
  • (Hong Kong English) IPA(key): [ˈʊŋli]
  • (file)
  • Hyphenation: on‧ly

Adjective[edit]

only (not comparable)

  1. Alone in a category.
    He is the only doctor for miles.
    The only people in the stadium were the fans: no players, coaches, or officials.
    Only the cat sat on the mat. The dog never did.
    The only cat sat on the only mat.
  2. Singularly Superior; the best.
    He is the only trombonist to recruit.
  3. Without sibling; without a sibling of the same gender.
    He is their only son, in fact, an only child.
  4. (obsolete) Mere.
    • 1603, John Florio, translating Michel de Montaigne, Essays, I.40:
      I know some who wittingly have drawne both profit and preferment from cuckoldrie, the only name whereof is so yrksome and bail-ful to so many men.

Synonyms[edit]

Derived terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

Adverb[edit]

only (not comparable)

  1. Without others or anything further; exclusively.
    • 2013 June 7, Ed Pilkington, “‘Killer robots’ should be banned in advance, UN told”, The Guardian Weekly, volume 188, number 26, page 6: 
      In his submission to the UN, [Christof] Heyns points to the experience of drones. Unmanned aerial vehicles were intended initially only for surveillance, and their use for offensive purposes was prohibited, yet once strategists realised their perceived advantages as a means of carrying out targeted killings, all objections were swept out of the way.
    My heart is hers, and hers only.   The cat sat only on the mat. It kept off the sofa.
  2. No more than; just.
    • 1949, Frank B. Gilbreth, Jr. and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey, Cheaper by the Dozen, dedication:
      To DAD
      who only reared twelve children
      and
      To MOTHER
      who reared twelve only children
    • 1963, Margery Allingham, chapter 20, The China Governess[1]:
      ‘No. I only opened the door a foot and put my head in. The street lamps shine into that room. I could see him. He was all right. Sleeping like a great grampus. Poor, poor chap.’
    • 2013 June 22, “Engineers of a different kind”, The Economist, volume 407, number 8841, page 70: 
      Private-equity nabobs bristle at being dubbed mere financiers. Piling debt onto companies’ balance-sheets is only a small part of what leveraged buy-outs are about, they insist. Improving the workings of the businesses they take over is just as core to their calling, if not more so. Much of their pleading is public-relations bluster.
    The cat only sat on the mat. It didn't scratch it.   If there were only one more ticket!
  3. As recently as.
    • 2013 August 3, “Yesterday’s fuel”, The Economist, volume 408, number 8847: 
      The dawn of the oil age was fairly recent. Although the stuff was used to waterproof boats in the Middle East 6,000 years ago, extracting it in earnest began only in 1859 after an oil strike in Pennsylvania. The first barrels of crude fetched $18 (around $450 at today’s prices).
    He left only moments ago.
  4. (obsolete) Above all others; particularly.
    • Marston
      his most only elected mistress

Derived terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.

Conjunction[edit]

only

  1. Under the condition that; but.
  2. However.
    I would enjoy running, only I have this broken leg.
    The cat sat on the mat, only the dog chased it off.
  3. But for the fact that; except.

Translations[edit]

The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.

Related terms[edit]

Statistics[edit]

Noun[edit]

only (plural onlies)

  1. (rare) only child
    • 2013, Sybil L. Hart, ‎Maria Legerstee, Handbook of Jealousy
      The consistent finding [] that infants who are onlies do not differ from those who have siblings despite their lesser history of exposure to differential treatment is perplexing.

Anagrams[edit]