There are 3 main definitions of at in English:

Share this entry

at 1

Line breaks: at
Pronunciation: /at/


1Expressing location or arrival in a particular place or position: they live at Conway House they stopped at a small trattoria
More example sentences
  • Responsibility for providing services at the airport is shared between the airport and the airline.
  • She went back to her job as a teacher while I stayed at home with Louise.
  • He made his first professional stage appearance in George Bernard Shaw's ‘The Devil's Disciple’ at the Gaiety Theatre.
1.1Used in speech to indicate the sign @ in email addresses, separating the address holder’s name from their location.
Example sentences
  • Please send mail to zzsmith1 at strangemail dot net.
2Expressing the time when an event takes place: the children go to bed at nine o’clock his death came at a time when the movement was split
More example sentences
  • In the United States, more than 10,000 retailers across the country are opening their doors at midnight tonight solely to sell copies of the game and accessories.
  • William appeared at half-past twelve.
  • There will be a complete blackout tonight at eleven o'clock.
2.1(Followed by a noun without a determiner) denoting a particular period of time: the sea is cooler at night
More example sentences
  • At Christmas we're always surrounded by lots of lovely food and drink.
  • Schools should lock children in at lunchtime to boost take-up of canteen meals, a catering expert claimed yesterday.
  • If you know of someone who is thinking of purchasing a rabbit at Easter, let them know it's a bad idea.
2.2(Followed by a noun without a determiner) denoting the time spent by someone attending an educational institution or workplace: it was at university that he first began to perform
More example sentences
  • It was at school that I began to play chess with my friend Brian.
  • It was at university that he became politically active.
3Denoting a particular point or level on a scale: prices start at £18,500 driving at 50 mph
More example sentences
  • Prices start at £145 for 3 nights for 2 people for our winter weekends in Keeper's Cottage.
  • Water boils at one hundred degrees Celsius and at this point changes phase to become a gas, or steam.
  • Electrons move at a speed of a few kilometres per second through a circuit, whereas light travels at nearly 300,000 kilometres per second.
3.1Referring to someone’s age: at fourteen he began to work as a postman
More example sentences
  • At twenty-one both males and females obtain their full legal rights, and become liable to all legal obligations.
  • Retirement at sixty-five is ridiculous.
  • At forty-five, he ran for the Senate and lost.
4Expressing a particular state or condition: his ready smile put her at ease they were at a disadvantage
More example sentences
  • I could not be really happy or be at peace living like that.
  • That way I can record shows and listen to them at my leisure.
  • Candidates with exposure to international trade and two years of editorial/writing experience in the electronics/computer industry would be at an advantage.
4.1Expressing a relationship between an individual and a skill: boxing was the only sport I was any good at she was getting much better at hiding her reactions
More example sentences
  • Women are said to be poor at reading maps.
  • I was never any good at sports.
  • You're still going to need to be really good at what you do just to accomplish that.
5Expressing the object of a look, thought, action, or plan: I looked at my watch Leslie pointed at him policies aimed at reducing taxation
More example sentences
  • As he entered the clubhouse he glanced at the pictures of famous yachts that hang on the walls.
  • How old was your baby when she smiled at you for the first time?
  • At the same moment, they shone a torch at me to identify me.
5.1Expressing the target of a shot from a weapon: they tore down the main street, firing at anyone in sight
More example sentences
  • The snipers were two individuals shooting randomly at anyone.
  • Police arrested a man for allegedly shooting at another patron during a fight at a bar on State Street Tuesday evening.
5.2Expressing an incomplete or attempted action, typically involving repeated movements: she clutched at the thin gown he hit at her face with the gun
More example sentences
  • Briars and thorns tore at my legs.
  • An alert tabby cat saved an Australian family of four from a house fire by clawing at its owner's face.
  • A homeless man accused of trying to steal a hat at a convenience store battled three deputies in a brawl, grabbed at a deputy's handgun and had to be shocked with a stun gun twice before he was arrested, according to a Marion sheriff's report.
6Expressing the means by which something is done: holding a prison officer at knifepoint figurative her pride had taken a beating at his hands
More example sentences
  • Two University of Minnesota students lost wallets, cash and cell phones, but otherwise were unhurt when they were robbed at gunpoint on campus Wednesday night, police said.
  • Our men are dying at the hands of enemies abroad and friends at home.


Old English æt, of Germanic origin; related to Old Frisian et and Old Norse at, from an Indo-European root shared by Latin ad 'to'.


at all

see all.

at first

see first.

at it

Engaged in some activity, typically a reprehensible one: the council is at it again, wanting to turn another green patch into a carpark
More example sentences
  • And could she not have done that while she was at it?
  • That he is still at it must mean that Smith has either led a charmed life these past years or else he is made of steel.
  • While you're at it, it's a good idea to tackle cold frames as well, both inside and out.

at last

see last1.

at least

see least.

at most

see most.

at once

see once.

at that

In addition; furthermore: it was not fog but smoke, and very thick at that
More example sentences
  • She let out such a yelp and it was no wonder, as Tom had nothing on but a shirt and it wasn't too long at that!
  • We now live in a country where citizens can be executed without trial, and by a foreign government at that.
  • We are the kind of people, he thought, who buy their own furniture and second-hand at that.

where it's at

informal The focus of fashion or style: building your own palace is where it’s at
More example sentences
  • If you prefer loafers or moccasins, you'll also have a chance to prove your fashion sense this summer, but sandals are really where it's at.
  • I'm a huge, huge fan of festivals, so that's where it's at for me this summer.
  • The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has plenty of money to give out, but collecting and interpreting the artefacts of human history is just not where it's at.

where someone is at

informal Someone’s true or fundamental nature or character: I think we’ve got enough information to have an idea of where he’s at
More example sentences
  • The first bit is exactly where my thinking is at.
  • This is Rethel's most precise determination of who and where he is at that moment.
  • So that's where my head is at these days.

Words that rhyme with at

bat, brat, cat, chat, cravat, drat, expat, fat, flat, frat, gat, gnat, hat, hereat, high-hat, howzat, lat, mat, matt, matte, Montserrat, Nat, outsat, pat, pit-a-pat, plait, plat, prat, Rabat, rat, rat-tat, Sadat, sat, scat, Sebat, shabbat, shat, skat, slat, spat, splat, sprat, stat, Surat, tat, that, thereat, tit-for-tat, vat, whereat

Definition of at in:

Share this entry


There are 3 main definitions of at in English:

Share this entry

at 2 Line breaks: at
Pronunciation: /ɑːt/


A monetary unit of Laos, equal to one hundredth of a kip.



Definition of at in:

Share this entry


There are 3 main definitions of at in English:

Share this entry

At 3 Line breaks: At


The chemical element astatine.

Definition of at in:

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.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day whippersnapper
Pronunciation: ˈwɪpəsnapə
a young, inexperienced person considered presumptuous or overconfident...