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[ohn-lee-ist] /ˈoʊn li ɪst/

adjective, Nonstandard.
: used as an intensive.
[ohn-lee] /ˈoʊn li/
without others or anything further; alone; solely; exclusively:
This information is for your eyes only.
no more than; merely; just:
If it were only true! I cook only on weekends.
as recently as:
I read that article only yesterday.
in the final outcome or decision:
You will only regret your harsh words to me.
being the single one or the relatively few of the kind:
This is the only pencil I can find.
having no sibling or no sibling of the same sex:
an only child; an only son.
single in superiority or distinction; unique; the best:
the one and only Muhammad Ali.
but (introducing a single restriction, restraining circumstance, or the like):
I would have gone, only you objected.
Older Use. except; but:
Only for him you would not be here.
only too,

adjective (prenominal)
the only, being single or very few in number: the only men left in town were too old to bear arms
(of a child) having no siblings
unique by virtue of being superior to anything else; peerless
one and only

without anyone or anything else being included; alone: you have one choice only, only a genius can do that
merely or just: it’s only Henry
no more or no greater than: we met only an hour ago
(Irish) (intensifier): she was only marvellous, it was only dreadful
used in conditional clauses introduced by if to emphasize the impossibility of the condition ever being fulfilled: if I had only known, this would never have happened
not earlier than; not…until: I only found out yesterday
if only, an expression used to introduce a wish, esp one felt to be unrealizable
only if, never…except when
only too

sentence connector
but; however: used to introduce an exception or condition: play outside: only don’t go into the street

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.

Related Terms

eyes only, one and only


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