What does only mean?

Definitions for only
ˈoʊn lion·ly

Here are all the possible meanings 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 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.

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. Gregory Poland:

    This is important, but it has to be done in a way that reassures scientists and the public that these (vaccines) are not only efficacious, but safe.

  2. Eric Lucero:

    Insurance companies have to make their evaluations on a formula with such criteria as to whether police or fighters can respond promptly, but that is no longer the case in Minneapolis. That means increased insurance rates not only for commercial properties but residential ones, too, so that means property value will go down, the tax rate decreases, and less tax collection means such things as school districts and education will really suffer.

  3. Republican Bob Corker:

    Only you and those at the table know whether there is any truth to these allegations.

  4. Albert Camus:

    Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards.

  5. Mark Judge:

    This will be an inside joke that only a few people will get, but a wise man in this building once said history is a seamless web.

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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    • A. abhor
    • B. loom
    • C. emanate
    • D. affront

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