Definition of soon in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /so͞on/


1In or after a short time: everyone will soon know the truth he’ll be home soon they arrived soon after 7:30
More example sentences
  • Zoe soon arrived and we headed back to Gee's where we sat outside and tried not to sound geeky.
  • Go the other way and you will soon arrive on one of the fabulous southern beaches.
  • I know of men who are in danger of losing their home if the money doesn't arrive soon.
shortly, presently, in the near future, before long, in a little while, in a minute, in a moment, in an instant, in a bit, in the twinkling of an eye, in no time, before you know it, any minute (now), any day (now), by and by
informal pronto, in a jiffy
dated directly, anon
1.1Early: it’s a pity you have to leave so soon I wish you’d told me sooner it was too soon to know
More example sentences
  • At this early stage it is too soon to say whether it has been a good or bad thing to do or what the repercussions of it all might be.
  • I kept putting her off, telling her it was too soon and if we bought it too early it would go off.
  • Sadly, we have also seen, all too soon, the bitter truth that lives are lost in wars.
early, quickly, promptly, speedily, punctually
earlier, before, beforehand, in advance, ahead of time;
2Used to indicate one’s preference in a particular matter: I’d just as soon Tim did it I would sooner resign than transfer to Toronto
More example sentences
  • That was one of those race days I’d just as soon forget.
  • I would as soon die as suffer that.
rather, preferably, by preference, by choice, more willingly, more readily


In standard English, the phrase no sooner is followed by than, as in we had no sooner arrived than we had to leave. This is because sooner is a comparative, and comparatives are followed by than ( earlier than; better than, etc.). It is incorrect to follow no sooner with when rather than than, as in we had no sooner arrived when we had to leave.



no sooner —— than

Used to convey that the second event mentioned happens immediately after the first: she had no sooner spoken than the telephone rang
More example sentences
  • No sooner had they realized that they had made a mistake than the company went bankrupt.

sooner or later

At some future time; eventually: you’ll have to tell him sooner or later
More example sentences
  • Environmental changes in one area of the world eventually affect the rest sooner or later.
  • And some day, sooner or later, it will have a leader who acknowledges that fact with pride.
  • Marissa glared at him hoping that maybe he'd get the hint sooner or later and finally stop.



Pronunciation: /ˈso͞oniSH/
Example sentences
  • I'm going to cut over to them soonish, and I want to share my good fortune with you (with apologies to Allan, but I'm sure he'll understand).
  • Since the majority (though not by any stretch all) of my friends have either turned 30 in the last few years or are about to soonish, I figured I'd do the same.
  • I guess the clocks must be going forward soonish…


Old English sōna 'immediately'.

  • Over the centuries soon has become less urgent. In Anglo-Saxon times it meant ‘immediately, without delay’. A similar case is presently, which also used to mean ‘immediately’ and now means ‘soon’. The same thing is happening today with expressions like directly, just a moment, and in a minute. The idiomatic phrase sooner you than me is recorded from the 15th century; as soon meaning ‘rather’ dates from the late 16th century; (Irish poet W. B. Yeats Hour-Glass: ‘I'd as soon listen to dried peas in a bladder as listen to your thoughts’).

Words that rhyme with soon

afternoon, attune, autoimmune, baboon, balloon, bassoon, bestrewn, boon, Boone, bridoon, buffoon, Cameroon, Cancún, cardoon, cartoon, Changchun, cocoon, commune, croon, doubloon, dragoon, dune, festoon, galloon, goon, harpoon, hoon, immune, importune, impugn, Irgun, jejune, June, Kowloon, lagoon, lampoon, loon, macaroon, maroon, monsoon, moon, Muldoon, noon, oppugn, picayune, platoon, poltroon, pontoon, poon, prune, puccoon, raccoon, Rangoon, ratoon, rigadoon, rune, saloon, Saskatoon, Sassoon, Scone, spittoon, spoon, swoon, Troon, tune, tycoon, typhoon, Walloon

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: soon

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.