once [ wʌns ] function word ***
Once can be used in the following ways:
as an adverb:
I only met him once.
They've been here once before.
as a conjunction:
Once you get there, you'll love it.
as a noun (after for or at ):
For once I wish you'd tell me the truth. (after the, this, or that ):
Yes, I met him, but just the once.
1. ) on one occasion only:
Cathy's only been to visit us once.
I'd seen the show once before, but I enjoyed seeing it again.
I'm only going to say this once, so listen carefully.
(just) the once (=on one particular occasion only): We met just the once, but I still remember him very clearly.
a ) once a week/month/year etc. happening one time each week/month/year etc.:
The whole family tries to get together at least once a year at my parents' place.
How often do you use the Internet? Daily? Once a week?
b ) once every three days/four years etc. happening one time every three days/four years etc.:
The Olympics are a big deal because they come around just once every four years.
And how often did you receive the phone calls? Probably once every two weeks or so.
c ) (just) this once used for emphasizing that this is the only time something will happen:
Will you come with me to a concert, just this once?
2. ) used for saying that a particular situation existed at a time in the past, but it does not exist any longer:
Did you know that Dan was once a policeman?
Louise bought the house where her grandparents had once lived.
The once mighty U.S. car industry was now facing strong competition from abroad.
a ) used for saying that something happened at some time in the past:
Once we drove all the way to Knoxville with four little kids in the back seat.
I once taught myself to knit, and I was pretty good at it.
3. ) used for saying that as soon as one thing happens, something else happens:
Once we were through the gates, we still had to find our seats.
I'm sure you'll be very happy here once you get to know everyone else.
all at once
1. ) happening suddenly, usually when you are not expecting it:
All at once a terrific crash of thunder shook the whole house.
2. ) at the same time:
There were too many things happening all at once and I couldn't take it all in.
at once
1. ) immediately:
Bake for 35 minutes and then serve at once.
The women met at a party and became good friends at once.
2. ) LITERARY at the same time:
Kolya, a movie from the Czech Republic, is at once extremely funny and sad.
do something once too often
to cause trouble for yourself by repeating dangerous, stupid, or annoying behavior:
He's insulted me once too often. He's going to regret this!
every once in a while
sometimes, but not very often:
I still see Ken around town once in a while.
Make sure you take a break every once in a while.
(just) for once SPOKEN
used for saying that you would like something to happen on this occasion, even though it does not usually happen, and you think it should happen more often:
You can pay the bill for once.
It would be nice if, just for once, the two of you could get on with each other.
once again/once more
1. ) used when something has happened before:
He was forced to publicly apologize once more for his actions.
The fair was once again a tremendous success.
2. ) used for saying that a situation becomes as it was before it changed:
I returned to Canada and found once again the freedom I had known as a child.
We look forward to the day when there will be peace once more in this troubled land.
once and for all
completely and finally:
The Supreme Court's ruling should decide this matter once and for all.
once or twice
a few times, but not very often:
Martin's gone hunting once or twice, but I don't think he really liked it.
once upon a time
1. ) used for starting children's stories:
Once upon a time, in a faraway land, lived a beautiful princess.
2. ) SPOKEN used for talking about a situation that existed in the past but no longer exists, especially when it was better than the situation now:
Once upon a time, you could leave your doors unlocked at night and not worry about someone breaking in.

Usage of the words and phrases in modern English. 2013.

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