AskDefine | Define only

Dictionary Definition

only adj
1 being the only one; single and isolated from others; "the lone doctor in the entire county"; "a lonesome pine"; "an only child"; "the sole heir"; "the sole example"; "a solitary instance of cowardice"; "a solitary speck in the sky" [syn: lone(a), lonesome(a), only(a), sole(a), solitary(a)]
2 exclusive of anyone or anything else; "she alone believed him"; "cannot live by bread alone"; "I'll have this car and this car only" [syn: alone(p)] adv
1 and nothing more; "I was merely asking"; "it is simply a matter of time"; "just a scratch"; "he was only a child"; "hopes that last but a moment" [syn: merely, simply, just, but]
2 without any others being included or involved; "was entirely to blame"; "a school devoted entirely to the needs of problem children"; "he works for Mr. Smith exclusively"; "did it solely for money"; "the burden of proof rests on the prosecution alone"; "a privilege granted only to him" [syn: entirely, exclusively, solely, alone]
3 with nevertheless the final result; "He arrived only to find his wife dead"; "We won only to lose again in the next round"
4 in the final outcome; "These news will only make you more upset"
5 except that; "It was the same story; only this time she came out better"
6 never except when; "call me only if your cold gets worse" [syn: only if, only when]
7 as recently as; "I spoke to him only an hour ago"

User Contributed Dictionary



  • a UK /ˈəʊ, /
  • a US /ˈoʊ, /
  • Hyphenation: on·ly


Old English ǣnlīċ, from Germanic (corresponding to one + -ly) . Cognate with Swedish enlig ‘unified’, obsolete Dutch eenlijk.


  1. singular; part of a relatively small number
    he is the only doctor for miles
  2. without sibling; without a sibling of the same gender
    he is their only son, infact, an only child
  3. singularly superior; the best

Derived terms

Usage notes


singularly superior; the best
  • Polish: jedyny, najlepszy


  1. without others or anything further; exclusively
    my heart is hers, and hers only
  2. no more than; just
    if there were only one more ticket!
  3. as recently as
    he left only moments ago

Derived terms



  1. but; except
    I would enjoy running only I have this broken leg


but; except

Related terms

Extensive Definition

Only may refer to:
In music:
only in French: Only

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

absolute, after a fashion, alone, appreciably, at any rate, at best, at least, at most, at the least, at the most, at the outside, at worst, azygous, barely, but, celibate, companionless, comparatively, contrariwise, detectably, entirely, exclusive, exclusively, fairly, first and last, however, impair, in a manner, in a way, in part, in some measure, incomparable, incompletely, inimitable, integrally, irreducibly, just, leastwise, lone, matchless, merely, mildly, moderately, modestly, not comprehensively, not exhaustively, odd, on the contrary, one, one and only, only-begotten, part, partially, particular, partly, peerless, plainly, pro tanto, purely, relatively, separate, simply, simply and solely, single, singly, singular, so far, sole, solely, solitary, solo, somewhat, thus far, to a degree, to some degree, tolerably, totally, transcendent, unaccompanied, unanalyzably, unattended, undividedly, unequaled, unexampled, unique, unmatched, unpaired, unparagoned, unparalleled, unrepeatable, unrepeated, unrivaled, visibly, wholly, yet
Privacy Policy, About Us, Terms and Conditions, Contact Us
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2
Material from Wikipedia, Wiktionary, Dict
Valid HTML 4.01 Strict, Valid CSS Level 2.1