Definitions for onlyˈoʊn li

This page provides all possible meanings and translations of the word only

Random House Webster's College Dictionary

on•ly*ˈoʊn li(adv.)

  1. without others or anything further; alone; solely; exclusively:

    This information is for your eyes only.

  2. no more than; merely; just:

    only on weekends; If it were only true!

  3. as recently as:

    I read that article only yesterday.

  4. in the final outcome or decision:

    That will only make matters worse.

  5. (adj.)being the single one or the relatively few of the kind; lone; sole:

    the only seat left.

  6. having no sibling or no sibling of the same sex:

    an only child.

  7. (conj.)but (introducing a single restriction, restraining circumstance, or the like):

    I would have gone, only you objected.

  8. Older Use. except; but:

    Only for him you would not be here.

    Category: Status (usage)

Idioms for only:

  1. only too, very; extremely.

    Category: Idiom

* Usage: Some usage guides maintain that misunderstanding will arise if the modifier only is not placed immediately before what it modifies. Inserting only in the sentence The doctor examined the children might produce ambiguity in written English. The doctor examined only the children would signify that no one else was examined, whereas The doctor only examined the children could indicate either that the doctor did nothing else or that no one else was examined. In all varieties of speech and writing there has long been a tendency to place only before the verb in a sentence regardless of what it modifies. In spoken English the intended meaning may be conveyed by stressing the construction to which only applies.

Origin of only:

bef. 900; ME; OE ānlich, ǣnlich. See one , -ly

Princeton's WordNet

  1. lone(a), lonesome(a), only(a), sole(a), solitary(a)(adj)

    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"

  2. alone(p), only(adverb)

    exclusive of anyone or anything else

    "she alone believed him"; "cannot live by bread alone"; "I'll have this car and this car only"

  3. merely, simply, just, only, but(adverb)

    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"

  4. entirely, exclusively, solely, alone, only(adverb)

    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"

  5. only(adverb)

    with nevertheless the final result

    "He arrived only to find his wife dead"; "We won only to lose again in the next round"

  6. only(adverb)

    in the final outcome

    "These news will only make you more upset"

  7. only(adverb)

    except that

    "It was the same story; only this time she came out better"

  8. only, only if, only when(adverb)

    never except when

    "call me only if your cold gets worse"

  9. only(adverb)

    as recently as

    "I spoke to him only an hour ago"

Kernerman English Learner's Dictionary

  1. only(adverb)ˈoʊn li

    not more than

    It'll only take me fifteen minutes.; I only have $200.

  2. onlyˈoʊn li

    nothing, nowhere, or no one else

    This area is for children only.; things that could only happen on TV

  3. onlyˈoʊn li

    no better, no worse, no more interesting, etc. than; = just

    I thought it was Dad, but it was only some guy that looked like him.

  4. onlyˈoʊn li

    indicates sth happened recently; = just

    He only left a few minutes ago.; I've only just found out what happened.

  5. only(adjective)ˈoʊn li

    not having any other things or people of the same kind

    Katie was the only friend she had.; The cellphone was her only way of communicating.

  6. onlyˈoʊn li

    used to say that there may be a problem

    It's a great camera - the only thing is it's too small.

  7. only(conjunction)ˈoʊn li

    indicates the statement just made is not completely true; = except

    Your coat is just like mine, only it's blue.


  1. only(Adverb)

    without others or anything further; exclusively

    my heart is hers, and hers only

  2. only(Adverb)

    no more than; just

    if there were only one more ticket!

  3. only(Adverb)

    as recently as

    he left only moments ago

  4. only(Adjective)

    Alone in a category.

  5. only(Adjective)

    Singularly superior; the best.

    He is the only trombonist to recruit.

  6. only(Adjective)

    Without sibling; without a sibling of the same gender.

    He is their only son, in fact, an only child

  7. only(Adjective)


  8. only(Conjunction)

    Under the condition that; but.

  9. only(Conjunction)


    I would enjoy running, only I have this broken leg

  10. only(Conjunction)

    But for the fact that; except.

  11. Origin: ænlic, from ; corresponding to one + -ly/-like. Cognate with enlig, and obsolete eenlijk.


  1. Only

    "Only" is a song by Nine Inch Nails. It was released as the second single from Nine Inch Nails' fourth album With Teeth. "Only" reached number one on the Billboard Modern Rock chart, where it stayed for seven weeks. It is the second successful release that Nine Inch Nails has had in the UK, peaking at number 20.

British National Corpus

  1. Spoken Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'only' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #76

  2. Written Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'only' in Written Corpus Frequency: #137

  3. Adverbs Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'only' in Adverbs Frequency: #6

  4. Adjectives Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'only' in Adjectives Frequency: #37

Anagrams of only

  1. ynol

  2. Lyon

Translations for only

Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary


not more than

We have only two cups left; He lives only a mile away.

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