1) ADV: ADV with v If something happens once, it happens one time only.

I met Wilma once, briefly...

Since that evening I haven't once slept through the night...

Mary had only been to Manchester once before.

PRON: the/this PRON
Once is also a pronoun.

`Have they been to visit you yet?' - `Just the once, yeah.'... Listen to us, if only this once.

2) ADV: ADV a n You use once with `a' and words like `day', `week', and `month' to indicate that something happens regularly, one time in each day, week, or month.

Lung cells die and are replaced about once a week...

We arranged a special social event once a year to which we invited our major customers.

3) ADV: ADV every n, ADV every num n You use once with `every' and words like `day', `week', and `year' to indicate that something happens a specified number of times and on a regular basis.

The patient was seen for follow-up visits once every three months...

My daughter comes to visit me once every fortnight.

4) ADV: ADV with v, ADV with be, ADV with group/cl If something was once true, it was true at some time in the past, but is no longer true.

The culture minister once ran a theatre...

I lived there once myself, before I got married...

The house where she lives was once the village post office...

My memory isn't as good as it once was.

...an undulating park, once lovely but now ruined by new buildings.

5) ADV: ADV with v If someone once did something, they did it at some time in the past.

I once went camping at Lake Darling with a friend...

We once walked across London at two in the morning...

Diana had taken that path once.

6) CONJ-SUBORD If something happens once another thing has happened, it happens immediately afterwards.

The decision had taken about 10 seconds once he'd read a market research study...

Once customers come to rely on these systems they almost never take their business elsewhere...

Once inside her apartment she felt an urge to brush her teeth.

7) PHRASE: PHR with cl If something happens all at once, it happens suddenly, often when you are not expecting it to happen.

I feel terribly sleepy all at once...

All at once there was someone knocking on the door.

all of a sudden
8) PHRASE: PHR with v If you do something at once, you do it immediately.

I have to go, I really must, at once...

Remove from the heat, add the parsley, toss and serve at once...

The audience at once greeted it warmly.

9) PHRASE: PHR after v, PHR adj/n and adj/n If a number of different things happen at once or all at once, they all happen at the same time.

You can't be doing two things at once...

No bank could ever pay off its creditors if they all demanded their money at once...

She seems at once feminine and able to cope in a man's world.

10) PHRASE: PHR with cl (emphasis) For once is used to emphasize that something happens on this particular occasion, especially if it has never happened before, and may never happen again.

For once, dad is not complaining...

His smile, for once, was genuine.

11) PHRASE: PHR with v, PHR with cl If something happens once again or once more, it happens again.

Amy picked up the hairbrush and smoothed her hair once more...

Once again an official inquiry has spoken of weak management and ill-trained workers.

12) PHRASE: PHR with v (emphasis) If something happens once and for all, it happens completely or finally.

We have to resolve this matter once and for all...

If we act fast, we can once and for all prevent wild animals in Britain from suffering terrible cruelty.

13) PHRASE: PHR with cl If something happens once in a while, it happens sometimes, but not very often.

Your body, like any other machine, needs a full service once in a while...

Once in a while she phoned him.

now and again
14) PHRASE: PHR with cl, PHR with v If you have done something once or twice, you have done it a few times, but not very often.

I popped my head round the door once or twice...

Once or twice she had caught a flash of interest in William's eyes...

She gazed up at him, blinking once or twice, apparently surprised at his cleverness.

15) PHRASE: PHR with cl Once upon a time is used to indicate that something happened or existed a long time ago or in an imaginary world. It is often used at the beginning of children's stories.

`Once upon a time,' he began, `there was a man who had everything.'...

Once upon a time, asking a woman if she has a job was quite a straightforward question.

16) once in a blue moonsee moon

English dictionary. 2008.

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