What does Only mean?

Definitions for Only
ˈoʊn lion·ly

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word Only.

Princeton's WordNet

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

    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), onlyadverb

    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, butadverb

    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, onlyadverb

    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. onlyadverb

    with nevertheless the final result

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

  6. onlyadverb

    in the final outcome

    "These news will only make you more upset"

  7. onlyadverb

    except that

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

  8. only, only if, only whenadverb

    never except when

    "call me only if your cold gets worse"

  9. onlyadverb

    as recently as

    "I spoke to him only an hour ago"


  1. onlyadverb

    without others or anything further; exclusively

    my heart is hers, and hers only

  2. onlyadverb

    no more than; just

    if there were only one more ticket!

  3. onlyadverb

    as recently as

    he left only moments ago

  4. onlyadjective

    Alone in a category.

  5. onlyadjective

    Singularly superior; the best.

    He is the only trombonist to recruit.

  6. onlyadjective

    Without sibling; without a sibling of the same gender.

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

  7. onlyadjective


  8. onlyconjunction

    Under the condition that; but.

  9. onlyconjunction


    I would enjoy running, only I have this broken leg

  10. onlyconjunction

    But for the fact that; except.

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

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Onlyadjective

    Etymology: from one, onely, or onelike.

    Of all whom fortune to my sword did bring,
    This only man was worth the conquering. Dryden.

    The logick now in use has long possessed the chair, as the only art taught in the schools for the direction of the mind in the study of the sciences. John Locke.

  2. Onlyadverb

    I propose my thoughts only as conjectures. Burnet.

    The posterity of the wicked inherit the fruit of their father’s vices; and that not only by a just judgment, but from the natural course of things. John Tillotson, Serm. 4.

    All who deserve his love, he makes his own;
    And to be lov’d himself, needs only to be known. Dryd.

    Nor must this contrition be exercised by us, only for grosser evils; but when we live the best. William Wake.

    Every imagination of the thoughts of his heart, was only evil continually. Gen. vi. 5.


  1. Only

    Only is a song by New York City heavy metal band Anthrax off their 1993 album Sound of White Noise. It is one of their most popular songs from the John Bush era, and has also appeared on their compilation album, Return of the Killer A's. Recently Joey Belladonna has sung this song on the big four tours.


  1. only

    The term "only" is an adverb that is used to indicate exclusivity or limitation, suggesting that there is no other alternative, possibility, or exception. It emphasizes a specific quality or condition that is unique or restricted within a given context or situation.

  2. Only

    Only refers to the presence or occurrence of a particular thing or action without any other possible options or alternatives. It indicates exclusivity or restriction, often implying a lack of other choices or possibilities. It can also imply uniqueness or singularity, emphasizing that there is nothing else like it.


  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.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Only

    ōn′li, adj. single in number or kind: this above all others: alone.—adv. in one manner: for one purpose: singly: merely: barely: entirely.—conj. but: except that.—n. On′liness. [A.S. ánlíc (adj.)—án, one, líc, like.]

Suggested Resources

  1. ONLY

    What does ONLY stand for? -- Explore the various meanings for the ONLY acronym on the Abbreviations.com website.

Surnames Frequency by Census Records

  1. ONLY

    According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Only is ranked #107669 in terms of the most common surnames in America.

    The Only surname appeared 165 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 0 would have the surname Only.

    72.1% or 119 total occurrences were Black.
    19.3% or 32 total occurrences were White.
    4.2% or 7 total occurrences were of two or more races.

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

How to pronounce Only?

How to say Only in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of Only in Chaldean Numerology is: 7

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of Only in Pythagorean Numerology is: 3

Examples of Only in a Sentence

  1. Ayn Rand:

    The only proper purpose of a government is to protect man's rights, which means: to protect him from physical violence. A proper government is only a policeman, acting as an agent of man's self-defense, and, as such, may only resort to force only against those who start the use of force.

  2. Jeroen Dijsselbloem:

    That they’re all but broke, we knew already, but my message to the Greeks is then every time again : so then, work with us as quickly as possible on an adjustment to the program. Athens is hoping the finance ministers will approve its list and allow for the return of about 1.9 billion euros( $ 2.07 billion) in profits made by the European Central Bank on Greek bonds, the source familiar with the matter said. The source said Athens also expected the return of about 1.2 billion euros in cash left in the Greek bank bailout fund that was taken back by the euro zone last month - something euro zone officials said the euro zone bailout fund would discuss on Wednesday. Greece argues that its own bank rescue fund should have returned only 9.7 billion euros to the euro zone rather than 10.9 billion euros, since it had used its own cash reserve rather than EFSF bonds to make that recapitalization. Greek officials have not gone into detail about the latest reform list. Sakillarides said only it would not contain recessionary measures but structural changes. The reforms are deeply sensitive for leftist Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who came to power in January pledging to end austerity policies but was forced to accept an extension to a hated bailout program under the threat of a banking collapse. Greece has received two bailouts totaling 240 billion euros since 2010 but its economy has shrunk by 25 percent partly due to austerity measures imposed by the lenders. One in four Greeks is out of work, and more than half of all young people. AIR CLEARED. Alexis Tsipras discussed the reforms with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin on Monday. Sakellaridis said that in a four-hour working dinner they discussed only the outline without going into depth. Both leaders voiced mutual goodwill during a visit that appeared to have cleared the air after weeks of public acrimony between Athens and Berlin. German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said after meeting Tsipras on Tuesday that an improved climate between the two countries would help start serious negotiations for a solution to Greece's debt problems. The Social Democrat politician told reporters this alone would not solve Greece's financial problems, but it was.

  3. Cree Indian Prophecy:

    Only when the last tree has been cut down Only when the last river has been poisoned Only when the last fish has been caught Only then will you find that money cannot be eaten.

  4. Yair Lapid:

    Listen to something amazing, of all the big parties in the Knesset Likud, Labor, Jewish Home, Shas, Yisrael Beitenu we are the only party, the only one, where none of its leaders or members have ever been investigated, suspected of anything, detained, used the right to remain silent, been indicted or sat in prison. The only one. I can't believe I am listing this as an achievement.

  5. Andy Cohen:

    The only thing that I regret saying, the only thing is that I slammed the ABC broadcast and I really likeRyan Seacrest and he's a great guy and I really regret saying that, and I was just stupid and drunk and feeling it. And it was… I was continuing the Journey rant and I just kept talking and I shouldn't have, and I… I felt bad about that. So that is the only thing. It's the only thing.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for Only

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

  • فقطArabic
  • само, единствен, единственоBulgarian
  • només, sols, solament, únic, únicamentCatalan, Valencian
  • jen, až, jenom, teprve, jedináček, jenže, pouze, jedině, jedinýCzech
  • enesteDanish
  • gerade, geschwisterlos, einzig, einzigartig, Einzelkind, nurGerman
  • μοναδικό, μόνο, μοναδική, αλλά, μοναδικός, μόνος, μόνηGreek
  • sola, nuraEsperanto
  • sólo, apenas, hijo único, solamente, único, únicamenteSpanish
  • ainusEstonian
  • فقط, تنها, تَنهاPersian
  • mutta, edes, ainut, vain, vasta, juuri, ainoa, ainutlaatuinen, jos, ainoastaan, paitsi että, sillä ehdolla, ettäFinnish
  • que, unique, seulement, sauf que, seul, mais, ne...que, uniquementFrench
  • Galician
  • רק, יָחִידHebrew
  • सिर्फ़, हीHindi
  • csak, egyetlen, kivéveHungarian
  • մինուճար, միայն, միամոր, միակArmenian
  • solmenteInterlingua
  • nuraIdo
  • solo, solamente, unicoItalian
  • だけ, しか, 唯一Japanese
  • ერთადერთიGeorgian
  • 유일한, ...만, 하나밖에 없는Korean
  • ته‌نهاKurdish
  • unicus, sōlumLatin
  • vienīgi, tikai, vienīgsLatvian
  • മാത്രംMalayalam
  • फ़क्तMarathi
  • sahaja, hanyaMalay
  • ရုံBurmese
  • pas, enig, netDutch
  • eneste, bare, einasteNorwegian
  • jedyny, tylko, najlepszy, dopieroPolish
  • somente, porém, exceto, único, todavia, mas, apenas, melhor, salvo, que, filhoPortuguese
  • sapaQuechua
  • singur, unic, numaiRomanian
  • только вот, лишь, единственный, только, единый, но, за исключением того, что, однако, всегоRussian
  • само, sámoSerbo-Croatian
  • jedinýSlovak
  • edinSlovene
  • bara, endast, endaSwedish
  • ஒரேTamil
  • ఏకైక, ఒకే, ఒక్కగానొక్కTelugu
  • sadece, yalnızca, bir tek, tekTurkish
  • єдинийUkrainian
  • صرفUrdu
  • teVolapük
  • 只要Chinese

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