There are 2 main definitions of now in English:

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now 1

Pronunciation: /naʊ/


1At the present time or moment: where are you living now? it’s the most popular style of jazz right now not now, I’m late they should be back by now
More example sentences
  • In my world view, this life we are living right now is all we have, and thus every moment of it should be enjoyed.
  • So it seems right now that we are in a moment when the future is still unborn and the past is not quite dead.
  • I am not interested in coaching at the moment, and can't say right now if I ever will be.
at the moment, at present, just now, right now, at the present time, at the present moment, at this time, at this moment in time, currently, here and now;
North American  presently
British informal at the minute
in the present climate, things being what they are, in the present circumstances
1.1At the time directly following the present moment; immediately: if we leave now we can be home by ten I’d rather do it now than leave it till later
More example sentences
  • Go through this and a wide tarmac lane is now followed straight ahead for the next half a mile or so all the way back to Disley.
  • City of York Council must now go directly to the people of York, and ask them which system they want to see.
  • Much of the company's effort will now be directed towards trying to retain the franchise.
at once, straight away, right away, right now, this minute, this instant, immediately, instantly, directly, without further/more ado, promptly, without delay, as soon as possible;
archaic straightway, instanter
1.2Under the present circumstances; as a result of something that has recently happened: it is now clear that we should not pursue this policy I didn’t receive the letter, but it hardly matters now
More example sentences
  • Her condition has deteriorated recently, and she now struggles to walk up stairs.
  • How long that majority will remain in current circumstances must now be open to doubt.
  • I can see their expression and hear their tone of voice now, clear as anything.
1.3On this further occasion, typically as the latest in a series of annoying situations or events: what do you want now?
More example sentences
  • He is now refusing to come along because he wants his own event.
1.4Used to emphasize a particular length of time: they’ve been married four years now
More example sentences
  • It's down for an unprecedented length of time now and it's keeping people away from our centre.
  • You've been awake for four seconds now and already your frame of reference has vanished.
  • It's been a disgrace for three or four years now and the residents and people who have to use it deserve better.
1.5(In a narrative or account of past events) at the time spoken of or referred to: she was nineteen now, and she was alone
More example sentences
  • Up until then Callum had just been sitting quietly watching the bookworm, but now he spoke up.
  • Saria has lied about things relating to him in the past and now Miriam and Paul both lied to get Paul in the frame.
  • I frowned at my brother as he clutched his suitcase to his chest and walked past me, now not daring to look at me.
2Used, especially in conversation, to draw attention to a particular statement or point in a narrative: now, my first impulse was to run away I don’t like Scotch. Now, if it had been Irish Whiskey you’d offered me
3Used in a request, instruction, or question, typically to give a slight emphasis to one’s words: we can hardly send her back, now can we? run along now
More example sentences
  • I now write to request those who have not yet responded to do so as soon as possible.
  • Ok so this is fact and many of us bear the marks of those conquests but now answer this question.
  • Will those who were duped into believing Galloway was speaking for them now come out and say he no longer does?
3.1Used when pausing or considering one’s next words: let me see now, oh yes, I remember
4Used at the end of an ironic question echoing a previous statement: ‘Mum says you might let me have some of your stamps.’ ‘Does she now?’


As a consequence of the fact: they spent a lot of time together now that he had retired now you mention it, I haven’t seen her around for ages
More example sentences
  • Presumably now the formaldehyde has cleared from his brain, he has woken up to the meaning of what he said.
  • Lee Ryan is happy that he is free to speak his mind now that he is embarking on a solo career apart from Blue.
  • Will he be prompted to give up his criminal activities now that he can afford to live in luxury?


Fashionable or up to date: see more of what’s now during our autumn catwalk show
More example sentences
  • Zen perfection: it's so very Fifties, so very now.



for now

Until a later time: that’s all the news there is for now
More example sentences
  • The mailing address post office box will remain open for now, until other arrangements are made.
  • But he says the five-year sentences were strict enough to get the right message across for now.
  • I am naturally intense and a poor sleeper, but for now I have ceased to suffer from insomnia.
for the time being, for the moment, for the present, for the meantime, for a little while
archaic for the nonce

now and again (or then)

From time to time: she walked quickly, pausing now and again for them to catch up
More example sentences
  • As well as just watching a video it is a good idea to pause it every now and then and make notes on any facts you didn't know.
  • My only complaint is that the bouncers seem to get a little picky on the dress code now and then.
  • Do not use it as a major cooking oil, but you can use it now and then for flavoring.

now now

Used as an expression of mild remonstrance: now now, that’s not the way to behave
More example sentences
  • Oh now now Mrs. Farmer Bob, you're hyperventilating, here, let me help you sit back up.
  • Now now now, Ryan, what are you doing, trying to get yourself killed?
  • Now now, don't get carried away, sir.

now ——, now ——

At one moment ——, at the next ——: a wind whipped about the house, now this way, now that

now or never

Used to convey urgency: it was now or never—I had to move fast
More example sentences
  • Friends of the Earth GM campaigner Clare Oxborrow said: ‘It really is now or never if we want to stop the introduction of GM crops in this country.’
  • It's now or never, the land must be returned to the people.
  • I decided I wanted to do something creative, and it was now or never.

now then

1Used to get someone’s attention or to invite a response: now then, who’s for a coffee?
2Used as an expression of mild remonstrance or warning: now then, Emily, I think Sarah has suffered enough
More example sentences
  • Now then, now then - Sir Jimmy Savile OBE is all set to help Otley's Christmas lights switch-on a much brighter affair this year.
  • Now then now then guys and gals, I'll give you two points for the name of the song and five points for the name of the band.

now you're talking

An expression of enthusiastic agreement or approval: The Beatles! Now you’re talking!



Example sentences
  • In spite of the crispness and perpetually constructed nowness of data that that appears on screen with each electrical pulse, no matter when it was written, faithfully reconstructed images of the past now fade with their familiarity.
  • Several wise minds weighed in with their own interpretations of nowness and nature, and, to heighten the moment, the instructor read aloud from the preface to Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass.
  • The nowness of everything is absolutely wondrous.


Old English , of Germanic origin; related to Dutch nu, German nun, from an Indo-European root shared by Latin nunc and Greek nun.

Words that rhyme with now

allow, avow, Bilbao, Bissau, bough, bow, bow-wow, brow, cacao, chow, ciao, cow, dhow, Dow, endow, Foochow, Frau, Hangzhou, Hough, how, Howe, kowtow, Lao, Liao, Macao, Macau, miaow, Mindanao, mow, ow, Palau, plough (US plow), pow, prow, row, scow, Slough, sough, sow, Tao, thou, vow, wow, Yangshao

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Line breaks: now

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There are 2 main definitions of now in English:

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Entry from US English dictionary


National Organization for Women.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: NOW

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