- 1The lowest cardinal number; half of two; 1: there’s only room for one person two could live as cheaply as one one hundred miles World War One a one-bedroom apartment (Roman numeral: i, I)More example sentences
- We need families to open their hearts and to accept a child into the warmth of their family life for one month a year.
- We had to wait in line for one hour, and it was another hour before we got our food.
- The garden is enclosed with shrubs and has parking room for one car at the rear.
- 1.1A single person or thing, viewed as taking the place of a group: they would straggle home in ones and twosMore example sentences
a single, a solitary, a sole, a lone
- Organising on the job was difficult as it involved chasing up members in ones and twos and having to go back to the job if a member was off sick.
- You may bid by ones until you reach 60; bids above 60 must be multiples of 5 (65, 70, 75 etc.).
- Many of us tend to buy products in just ones or twos.
- 1.2Single; just one as opposed to any more or to none at all (used for emphasis): her one concern is to save her daughterMore example sentences
- More of the speakers admit openly that drug smuggling was their one chance at something better.
- But now she is heading back to Oz and we met up for one last lunch to say our goodbyes.
- But in the end he lacked the sagacity or the low cunning to do the one thing necessary.
- 1.3Denoting a particular item of a pair or number of items: electronics is one of his hobbies he put one hand over her shoulder and one around her waist a glass tube closed at one endMore example sentences
- It is also not possible for one spouse to sell the marital home from underneath the other.
- One city in Alaska has 17 different air carriers.
- The money was spent on posters for one of the wards and pain-relieving equipment.
- 1.4Denoting a particular but unspecified occasion or period: one afternoon in late October
- 1.5Used before a name to denote a person who is not familiar or has not been previously mentioned; a certain: he worked as a clerk for one Mr. MingMore example sentences
- The first car to be registered in York belonged to one Mr Edwin Gray of Gray's Court, York.
- The drama follows the efforts of one Mrs Bennet to marry off her three daughters without any regard for the matter of true love in any such alliances.
- The hotel has a new man at the helm in the kitchens, one John Hogg from Scotland.
- 1.6 • informal , chiefly North American A noteworthy example of (used for emphasis): the actor was one smart-mouthed troublemaker he was one hell of a snappy dresserMore example sentences
- As it is, well, they're one hell of a cult band.
- She's one amazing gal.
- It's gonna be one big party!
- 1.7Identical; the same: all types of training meet one common standardMore example sentences
- Suddenly these bacteria started swimming all in one direction across the microscope slide and he wondered what they were responding to.
- I don't think I've ever seen so many golf buggies parked together in one place in my life!
- Next year all goods will be taxed at the one rate of 15 percent.
- 1.8One year old.More example sentences
- I want to talk to my little girl who is going to be one today.
- 1.9One o’clock: it’s half past one I’ll be there at oneMore example sentences
- I started the work at half ten on Sunday night and finished at one on Monday morning.
- By one in the morning everything was quiet again and we went back to bed.
- At half past one on a weekday the restaurant was less than half full.
- 1.10 • informal A one-dollar bill.More example sentences
- She pulled out two ones and handed them to the cashier.
- I peeled off the singles from my roll of cash (twenty-three dollars, all in one) and chatted with the item's former owner.
- 1.11 • informal An alcoholic drink: a cool one after a day on the waterMore example sentences
- ‘Hey Terry, you only just got here and you've already had one too many’ he said, placing our drinks on a bench.
- I'm off to the bar for a quick one.
- I'll be in the bar at 12.30 if anyone fancies one.
- 1.12 • informal A joke or story: the one about the chicken farmer and the spaceshipMore example sentences
- And did you hear about the one about the drunk bear, walked into a bar?
- Ah, Jesus, that's a good one. Is it joking you are?
- 1.13A size of garment or other merchandise denoted by one.More example sentences
- Candy dragged me into a shop, where she began sifting through a pile of skirts to find her size (a size one).
- She wasn't the tall skinny size one or the average size five that so many other girls on T.V. are.
- 1.14A domino or dice with one spot.More example sentences
- It was a curious remark to make for one who dreamed of emulating Alexander the Great.
pronounBack to top
- 1Referring to a person or thing previously mentioned or easily identified: her mood changed from one of moroseness to one of joy her best apron, the white one do you want one?More example sentences
- I still have a jersey from 1995 but it's not that white anymore and it was time to get a new one.
- The men all had Irish accents and one was referred to Jon Jon.
- She knew she had the face of a teenager, and always hated being referred to as one.
- 2A person of a specified kind: you’re the one who ruined her life Eleanor was never one to be trifled with my friends and loved onesMore example sentences
- One feels for police who have to inform families that one of their loved ones has just been killed.
- He's not one for making a fuss.
- She's the one who broke all my equipment.
- 2.1A person who is remarkable or extraordinary in some way: you never saw such a one for figuresMore example sentences
- Your photo of Susan Brookes of whom very few have heard, proclaimed her to be such a one.
- Generations to come will scarce believe that such a one as this ever in flesh and blood walked upon this earth.
- Oh you are a one - you've got me talking about my body already, and we hardly know each other!
- 3 [third person singular] Used to refer to the speaker, or any person, as representing people in general: one must admire him for his willingness one gets the impression that he is aheadMore example sentences
- It is in the context of such fears that choosing the sex of one's children must seem tempting.
- What is one to make, for example, of the way he is said to have behaved?
- Was this before, or after an encounter with Mr Knight, one is compelled to ask?
- In agreement or harmony: they were completely at one with their environmentMore example sentences
- United your resolve, united your hearts, may your spirits be at one, that you may long together dwell in unity and concord!
- Reporters covering the war are at one with their technology as never before.
- What was less satisfactory was that the documentation and the underlying philosophy did not appear to be at one.
- Used to stress that the person named holds the specified view, even if no one else does: I for one am getting a little sick of writing about itMore example sentences
- I for one am very proud of our NHS in Wiltshire and they deserve our praise not our criticism.
- The bookmakers, for one, weren't taking too many bets outside of the Gauls and the Poms.
- I for one am looking forward to the publication of the Butler Report on Wednesday.
one after another (or the other)
- Following one another in quick succession: one after another, the buses drew upMore example sentences
- The firefighters made a chair by linking arms and carried the couple out, one after the other, to a waiting boat moored to their garden gate.
- She ran her two best times of the year, one after the other.
- I ate 10 bars of chocolate one after the other when I was feeling very low.
one and all
- Everyone: well done, one and all!More example sentences
- A sincere thanks to one and all and best wishes to everyone for a very Happy Christmas and prosperous New Year.
- A good time was had by one and all and there are no complaints.
- We had a lovely session at our ManchesterSummit, introducing one and all to Blogging.
one and only
- Unique; single (used for emphasis or as a designation of a celebrity): the title of his one and only book the one and only Muhammad AliMore example sentences
- Indeed the one and only, the inimitable John Dillon had delivered free traffic to Dublin.
- So I suppose this entry could count as my obligatory, one and only, intoxicated post.
- This appears to be Harper Lee's one and only novel, and justifiably considered a classic.
one by one
- Separately and in succession; singly.More example sentences
- He looked at each man in the room one by one and warned them icily what would happen if they were foolish enough to talk.
- The steps, which have been blocked off since the end of July, are being replaced one by one.
- To her horror, he doesn't stop there and goes on to admit all his crimes one by one.
- Denoting or referring to a situation or arrangement in which one thing corresponds to or is exchanged for another: donations would be matched on a one-for-one basis with public revenuesMore example sentences
- Even the simple one-for-one replacement of existing light sources with new, high efficiency sources will produce significant savings.
- However, I don't see why we can't get a one for one replacement.
- He liked to trade punches with people, one for one.
one of a kind
- see kind1.
one-on-one (or one-to-one)
- Denoting or referring to a situation in which two parties come into direct contact, opposition, or correspondence: maybe we should talk to them one-on-oneMore example sentences
- The club offers group personal training for those not wanting to pay for one-on-one attention.
- Individuals were asked to indicate the best date and time to be contacted by the nurse researcher to set up a one-on-one interview.
- Displays and free one-to-one advice sessions with business advisers will also be available.
one or another (or the other)
- Denoting or referring to a particular but unspecified one out of a set of items: not all instances fall neatly into one or another of these categoriesMore example sentences
- There's only one explanation, and that is that one or the other of them went through our garbage and stole from it.
- We always create in layers, using many elements, so that if you took away one or another of the elements there would still be a song there.
- Each block is labeled with the name of one or another of the characters.
one or two
- • informal A few: there are one or two signs worth watching forMore example sentences
- What further annoyed me was that there were one or two vacant seats but these were reserved.
- Football wouldn't be the addictive game it is if it didn't throw up one or two surprises.
- One or two of his performers are experienced semiprofessionals who have competed in regional story-telling competitions.
one thing and another
- • informal Used to cover various unspecified matters, events, or tasks: what with one thing and another she hadn’t had much sleep recentlyMore example sentences
- He said: ‘Farmers, landowners and rural businesses of all types have had a rough time recently with one thing and another.’
- Between one thing and another (we both have lives in non-blogosphere reality) it's taken the better part of two months to iron out the bugs.
- There has been so much building here, we have been swamped by houses and one thing and another.
the one • informal
- A person’s destined life partner: it sounds corny, but I think he’s the oneMore example sentences
- I admit that I had plans for Scott, I really thought that he might be the one, because he's such a nice guy and I couldn't ask for anything more.
- Some people never meet the one.
- In other words, my philosophy (and recently confirmed with the women) is that you may miss out on one person you think is the one, but hey, there are others out there that may even better.
Old English ān, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch een and German ein, from an Indo-European root shared by Latin unus. The initial w sound developed before the 15th century and was occasionally represented in the spelling; it was not accepted into standard English until the late 17th century.
In modern English, the use of one as a pronoun to mean ‘anyone’ or ‘me and people in general,’ as in one must try one’s best , is generally restricted to formal contexts, outside which it is likely to be regarded as rather pompous or old-fashioned. In informal and spoken contexts, the normal alternative is you, as in you have to do what you can, don’t you? .