1. without others or anything further; alone; solely; exclusively: This information is for your eyes only.
  2. no more than; merely; just: If it were only true! I cook only on weekends.
  3. as recently as: I read that article only yesterday.
  4. in the final outcome or decision: You will only regret your harsh words to me.


  1. being the single one or the relatively few of the kind: This is the only pencil I can find.
  2. having no sibling or no sibling of the same sex: an only child; an only son.
  3. single in superiority or distinction; unique; the best: the one and only Muhammad Ali.


  1. but (introducing a single restriction, restraining circumstance, or the like): I would have gone, only you objected.
  2. Older Use. except; but: Only for him you would not be here.


  1. only too,
    1. as a matter of fact; extremely: I am only too glad to go.
    2. unfortunately; very: It is only too likely to happen.

adjective (prenominal)

  1. the only being single or very few in numberthe only men left in town were too old to bear arms
  2. (of a child) having no siblings
  3. unique by virtue of being superior to anything else; peerless
  4. one and only
    1. (adjective)incomparable; unique
    2. (as noun)the object of all one’s loveyou are my one and only


  1. without anyone or anything else being included; aloneyou have one choice only; only a genius can do that
  2. merely or justit’s only Henry
  3. no more or no greater thanwe met only an hour ago
  4. Irish (intensifier)she was only marvellous; it was only dreadful
  5. used in conditional clauses introduced by if to emphasize the impossibility of the condition ever being fulfilledif I had only known, this would never have happened
  6. not earlier than; not…untilI only found out yesterday
  7. if only an expression used to introduce a wish, esp one felt to be unrealizable
  8. only if never…except when
  9. only too
    1. (intensifier)he was only too pleased to help
    2. most regrettably (esp in the phrase only too true)

sentence connector

  1. but; however: used to introduce an exception or conditionplay outside: only don’t go into the street

adj.Old English ænlic, anlic “only, unique, solitary,” literally “one-like,” from an “one” (see one) + -lic “-like” (see -ly (1)). Use as an adverb and conjunction developed in Middle English. Distinction of only and alone (now usually in reference to emotional states) is unusual; in many languages the same word serves for both. German also has a distinction in allein/einzig. Phrase only-begotten (mid-15c.) is biblical, translating Latin unigenitus, Greek monogenes. The Old English form was ancenned. In addition to the idioms beginning with only

  • only game in town, the
  • only too
  • also see:

  • beauty is only skin deep
  • have an eye (eyes only) for
  • if only
  • in name only
  • not the only fish in the sea
  • one and only
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