Definition of one in English:

one

cardinal number

  • 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’
    ‘a one-bedroom flat’
    • ‘Applicants with one or more years of university study were selected on the basis of their previous university performance.’
    • ‘I made good friends there and for one whole year we went out on the town after every class.’
    • ‘We need families to open their hearts and to accept a child into the warmth of their family life for one month a year.’
    • ‘The antenna will protrude one metre from the barn roof and be one inch thick.’
    • ‘In 1952 there were over one million people involved in agriculture.’
    • ‘Add the remaining ingredients, put a lid on the wok, and cook on high heat for one minute.’
    • ‘The garden is enclosed with shrubs and has parking room for one car at the rear.’
    • ‘It also has four primary schools and one high school, meaning good pupil to teacher ratios.’
    • ‘Smith, who appeared in the dock of courtroom one, spoke only to confirm his name.’
    • ‘Crimes and offences involving drugs in Orkney have more than doubled over a one year period.’
    • ‘Hathaway executed a will leaving each child one dollar and the remainder of his estate to his wife.’
    • ‘A mother of four who caused a road crash which left a cyclist dead has been banned from driving for one year.’
    • ‘The attack had a devastating effect on her life and she did not go out socialising again in the city for one and a half years.’
    • ‘It is also going to get rid of the 20 minute bays and make them available for one and two hour parking.’
    • ‘If you're caffeine-sensitive, you may want to choose your tea based on the caffeine content in one cup.’
    • ‘In the original wards there were six four-bed bays and six one-bed bays with lavatories at each end of the ward.’
    • ‘Place all the ingredients in a blender and whizz for approximately one minute until smooth.’
    • ‘We had to wait in line for one hour, and it was another hour before we got our food.’
    • ‘So the young people are asked to do a course for one day, well in advance of their marriage.’
    • ‘Instead of putting one pair of socks on, try putting on two.’
    • ‘She has already lost more than one stone after plenty of walking and changing her diet.’
    a single, a solitary, a sole, a lone
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A single person or thing:
      ‘they would straggle home in ones and twos’
      • ‘Many of us tend to buy products in just ones or twos.’
      • ‘You may bid by ones until you reach 60; bids above 60 must be multiples of 5 (65, 70, 75 etc.).’
      • ‘He mostly takes people out in groups of ones and twos, and normally it's in a wide-open space.’
      • ‘When asked for comment the wholesaler said that their price for a single pen was high because they didn't want to sell them by ones.’
      • ‘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.’
      a single, a solitary, a sole, a lone
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 Just one as opposed to any more or to none at all; single (used for emphasis):
      ‘her one concern is to save her daughter’
      • ‘How is it possible for one person to get so much sleep and still feel tired?’
      • ‘She's the one woman who can beat him at his own game of sexual one-upmanship.’
      • ‘The one certainty about his retirement is that he intends to make a clean break from the sport.’
      • ‘The variety of style is probably too wide for one person's taste, but the quality remains high.’
      • ‘More of the speakers admit openly that drug smuggling was their one chance at something better.’
      • ‘So I struggled gamely on, feeling the shakes kicking in all over, the one thought in my mind ‘home!’’
      • ‘The one thing about living in a block of flats is not having to worry about the roof leaking.’
      • ‘To top it all off, Chelsea then field a team with not one English player in its original line up.’
      • ‘There was only one small problem - Cole had no money and no idea how to start his own business.’
      • ‘But in the end he lacked the sagacity or the low cunning to do the one thing necessary.’
      • ‘What is it that makes you decide that one person sounds more attractive than another?’
      • ‘The one truth about this career, like many others, is that initially you have to do the legwork.’
      • ‘Balwyn had possession from the end ball and there was time enough for one final shot.’
      • ‘We only had one realistic offer since then and that was before Sandra was on the list.’
      • ‘I don't think there's one nursing home in York that can get to normal staffing levels.’
      • ‘Having led a sheltered sort of life, I've only ever been out for one business lunch.’
      • ‘On the late shift this will cause a lot of problems, there is too much work for one person to do.’
      • ‘Limiting the field to one particular sanctuary would seem to be a promising alternative.’
      • ‘But now she is heading back to Oz and we met up for one last lunch to say our goodbyes.’
      • ‘If I spend one night away from him I feel as if my right arm has been chopped off.’
      only, single, solitary, sole
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3 Denoting a particular item of a pair or number of items:
      ‘electronics is one of his hobbies’
      ‘a glass tube closed at one end’
      • ‘Look at one person, sing a syllable for a long time until the breath has gone, then move to the next.’
      • ‘Often you stop to watch one thing and another mini-drama crops up.’
      • ‘Hop on at Queen's pier and sail out for a few beers or supper at one of the waterfront restaurants.’
      • ‘Keighley captained the Second XI for a while and was also in charge of the first team for one match.’
      • ‘We will know more in a month but so far, the scientists are guessing the odds at one in a million.’
      • ‘Even costly fuel has not stemmed the tide, and one new car in three is now diesel-powered.’
      • ‘You get one guy at one end of the room, another guy at the other end, get the audience in the middle and just go.’
      • ‘Applying for one of these cards makes a great deal of sense, even if you don't need to borrow.’
      • ‘Police were today also examining two computers, one seized from each of the girl's houses.’
      • ‘Lack of investment, according to one former employee, has been going on for many years.’
      • ‘More often than not, the bands we go to see in Manchester tend to be at one of the University venues.’
      • ‘Instead, a temporary wall was put up at one end and a prefab hut was drafted in as church hall.’
      • ‘So one day, after she begged me, I took her to meet the band at one of their rehearsals.’
      • ‘We grabbed a drink at the bar before sitting at one of the lounge seats close to the entrance.’
      • ‘He appears not to have slept and is twitching slightly at one corner of his mouth.’
      • ‘Lil had one hand over her mouth and was sporadically clenching her eyes shut.’
      • ‘It is also not possible for one spouse to sell the marital home from underneath the other.’
      • ‘Either way, I felt that this was one important element of festival life that was lacking.’
      • ‘His bike hit the pillar at one side of the entrance to the driveway and the pillar just collapsed on him.’
      • ‘He was buried from the family house in Oban, which is at one end of town, beyond the station.’
      • ‘The money was spent on posters for one of the wards and pain-relieving equipment.’
      • ‘One city in Alaska has 17 different air carriers.’
    4. 1.4 Denoting a particular but unspecified occasion or period:
      ‘one afternoon in late October’
      • ‘His first victim was seized on the canal bank at Firgrove one June morning as she walked to work.’
      • ‘I woke up early one morning, feeling quite sick.’
      • ‘It may even be possible that there were at one time plans for a spire, probably of timber.’
      • ‘We're thinking we might make our way to the sale on the other side of Guildford one weekend soon.’
      • ‘Last year we had Broughton Road shut at one time or another for most of the year.’
      • ‘He was at one time head of the private office of former Labour leader Neil Kinnock.’
      • ‘He looked pale and yawned several times, at one point cradling his head in his hands.’
      • ‘Since then he has had three heart bypasses and at one point was so sick he was given the last rites.’
      • ‘On returning to his hotel one evening, he spied a cluster of moths fluttering about the shrub's small, yellow flowers.’
      • ‘He told us of one summer, when a couple of older boys dropped by to visit his older brother.’
      • ‘I puzzled over how best to build a box for her collection, and the idea finally came to me around 3 a.m. one night.’
      • ‘A remarkable story of someone who at one stage was not given much chance of living.’
      • ‘He was more than just a musician - and he was the best clarinettist in the world at one time.’
      • ‘He loved to talk to youngsters and at one stage he even asked me for a reference to get into church work.’
      • ‘He had friends of both sexes and at one time appeared to have a close woman friend.’
      • ‘There were also hopes at one stage that it might be used as part of the Imperial War Museum.’
      some, any, a certain
      View synonyms
    5. 1.5 Used before a name to denote a person who is not known to the reader or hearer; a certain:
      ‘he worked as a clerk for one Mr Ming’
      • ‘You may have guessed by now that the striker I am referring to is one Dean Ashton.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The first car to be registered in York belonged to one Mr Edwin Gray of Gray's Court, York.’
    6. 1.6North American informal A noteworthy example of (used for emphasis):
      ‘the actor was one smart-mouthed troublemaker’
      ‘he was one hell of a snappy dresser’
      • ‘As it is, well, they're one hell of a cult band.’
      • ‘It's gonna be one big party!’
      • ‘She's one amazing gal.’
      • ‘This is one fine looking and sounding DVD.’
    7. 1.7 One year old.
      • ‘I want to talk to my little girl who is going to be one today.’
    8. 1.8 One o'clock:
      ‘I'll be there at one’
      • ‘He looked at the clock: one forty.’
      • ‘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.’
    9. 1.9 A size of garment or other merchandise denoted by one.
      • ‘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.’
    10. 1.10 A domino or dice with one spot.
      • ‘It was a curious remark to make for one who dreamed of emulating Alexander the Great.’
  • 2The same; identical:

    ‘all types of training meet one common standard’
    • ‘You know those occasions when you are compelled to listen to one song over and over and over again?’
    • ‘Next year all goods will be taxed at the one rate of 15 percent.’
    • ‘The reality is that teenagers are not one big group of people who all think and act the same.’
    • ‘It is also very rare for a school to produce four medal winners at one competition.’
    • ‘Soon it will be the one color all the other leaves have become, so it is grabbing my attention in a different way.’
    • ‘Pretending that inequality and poverty are one and the same must be a bit of a downer.’
    • ‘Suddenly these bacteria started swimming all in one direction across the microscope slide and he wondered what they were responding to.’
    • ‘Two stories and two teenagers are linked by one event in this affecting story about the need to be loved.’
    • ‘I don't think I've ever seen so many golf buggies parked together in one place in my life!’
    • ‘It is important to remember that all members of the team must be from the one club.’
    only, single, solitary, sole
    View synonyms
  • 3informal A joke or story:

    ‘the one about the Englishman, the Irishman, and the Yank’
    • ‘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?’
  • 4informal An alcoholic drink:

    ‘a cool one after a day on the water’
    • ‘‘Hey Terry, you only just got here and you've already had one too many’ he said, placing our drinks on a bench.’
    • ‘I'll be in the bar at 12.30 if anyone fancies one.’
    • ‘I'm off to the bar for a quick one.’
  • 5West Indian Alone:

    ‘the time when you one tackled a field of cane and finished before the others had even started’
    • ‘Anansi wanted the pig to eat an' he wanted to eat him one.’
    • ‘You think only Bella one can go to America.’

pronoun

  • 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?’
    • ‘Three commercial purchasers were identified and one was ready to conclude the sale.’
    • ‘As a result my time was not as quick as the one I had previously achieved this morning.’
    • ‘All that's left now is to wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas and let's hope it's a white one!’
    • ‘This was not really an issue of black and white but one of perceived notions of right and wrong.’
    • ‘In the end, she found another apartment, at more than double the rent of her previous one.’
    • ‘However, branching out on your own can be a huge step to take, not to mention a risky one too.’
    • ‘These are all rather fetching names, though few of them are ones it would have occurred to me to choose.’
    • ‘This is a controversial point and one that foreign governments certainly overlook.’
    • ‘Police said it is not yet possible to say whether the incident was linked to the previous ones.’
    • ‘She had three rings on her right hand, all white metal, two with stones and one with a Celtic type band.’
    • ‘The standard of care to be expected of a GP who is on the obstetric list is thus different from one who is not.’
    • ‘She knew she had the face of a teenager, and always hated being referred to as one.’
    • ‘It was a decision I had to make for myself and my family, but it wasn't one that I made easily.’
    • ‘I still have a jersey from 1995 but it's not that white anymore and it was time to get a new one.’
    • ‘Even his jokes are the same ones he was telling when he set off on the campaign trail months ago.’
    • ‘He pauses to pour himself another glass of white wine, but not before offering me one.’
    • ‘You can easily tell the new scenes from the old ones, even if you've never seen the films before.’
    • ‘Can you manage to stack things into a bag so that the most fragile items are on the bottom, and the heavy ones are on the top?’
    • ‘The men all had Irish accents and one was referred to Jon Jon.’
    • ‘So how do you turn that feeling as the bank statement drops on your doormat from one of dread to joy?’
  • 2A person of a specified kind:

    ‘you're the one who ruined her life’
    ‘my friends and loved ones’
    • ‘He's always the one who keeps the conversation going.’
    • ‘Frank was never one to act superior to the younger poets who were coming along.’
    • ‘How could we have thought that we would be the lucky ones?’
    • ‘It probably won't win them new fans but should satisfy old ones and entice back some who gave up on the band.’
    • ‘Thank you again, for the safe return of my dearest little ones.’
    • ‘Be thankful it is not one of your loved ones that have met their fate in this way.’
    • ‘I'm not one for exercise videos, exercise equipment, etc.’
    • ‘All I really know is that the good ones are always the ones who go before their time.’
    • ‘She's the one who broke all my equipment.’
    • ‘I really don't know where all the good looking ones are.’
    • ‘Younger ones are likely to be satisfied with a simple answer to questions.’
    • ‘There are many heartbreaking narratives from families whose loved ones have died of mental illnesses.’
    • ‘He's not one for making a fuss.’
    • ‘The lucky ones who do get permission have the Immigration and Naturalization Service to thank.’
    • ‘We tend to forget that the victim may as well have been one of our loved ones or even us.’
    • ‘A recognition of others as being your dearest ones need not be confined to recognizing them as mothers alone.’
    • ‘Some people create new holiday traditions or ways of honoring loved ones who have died.’
    • ‘One feels for police who have to inform families that one of their loved ones has just been killed.’
    • ‘To go in the draw to win, all you have to do is write in and tell us why you should be one of the lucky ones to win a double pass.’
    • ‘They had to learn that she was not one to be trifled with.’
    1. 2.1 A person who is remarkable in some way:
      ‘you never saw such a one for figures’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘She has been described as one in a million because she steadfastly refused to be beaten by cancer.’
      • ‘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 ahead’
    • ‘In other contexts sacrificing oneself for one's family would be considered good.’
    • ‘What is one to make, for example, of the way he is said to have behaved?’
    • ‘Such questions rest on premises that must be clarified before one can attempt answers.’
    • ‘Some have been so bad that one imagines the umpires must have taken him to be left-handed.’
    • ‘It is impossible not to know what the powers are, if one bothers to read the white paper.’
    • ‘On the press, Joe Ashton is scathing and one must feel sympathy for what he says.’
    • ‘It is in the context of such fears that choosing the sex of one's children must seem tempting.’
    • ‘The second year after planting, one can expect to harvest about 1,000 lb per acre.’
    • ‘One should never underestimate the unnatural things that food companies will do to natural foods.’
    • ‘Was this before, or after an encounter with Mr Knight, one is compelled to ask?’
    • ‘To answer this, one must look at the heritage from which this trend has arisen.’
    • ‘In fact, one might wonder whether the photograph in such a situation can be of any use to a researcher at all.’
    • ‘Secondly, the public health community generally believes that one must do no harm.’
    • ‘For example, proximity to one's home and community may act as a spur to some to fight harder.’
    • ‘It is one thing to assert one's good intentions, but another entirely to act upon them.’
    • ‘They are paintings so characteristic that one must think them very beautiful or else not at all so.’
    • ‘The way one moves forward philosophically is by looking backwards in a fresh manner.’
    • ‘Must one now assume that empty bins do not represent an obstruction nor a serious safety hazard?’
    • ‘Still, one does have to praise the DVD for its sound and vision.’
    • ‘So one might worry that moral transformation might involve loss of this natural good.’
    • ‘If that's how he intends to treat his new boss, one must fear for the players he has inherited.’

Usage

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?

Phrases

  • at one

    • In agreement or harmony:

      ‘they were completely at one with their environment’
      • ‘United your resolve, united your hearts, may your spirits be at one, that you may long together dwell in unity and concord!’
      • ‘It was a jazz record both timeless and at one with the hippy spirit of the early 1970s.’
      • ‘Both are at one with a certain instinct of frugality, by which I do not mean meanness.’
      • ‘And if you feel at one with nature, you can hike on one of the challenging trails or experience mountain biking.’
      • ‘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.’
      in agreement, agreed, in unison, of the same opinion, of the same mind, of like mind, like-minded, at one, as one, in accord, in concord, unanimous, in sympathy, in rapport, in harmony, in unity, shoulder to shoulder
      View synonyms
  • for 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 it’
      • ‘I for one am looking forward to the publication of the Butler Report on Wednesday.’
      • ‘I for one am very proud of our NHS in Wiltshire and they deserve our praise not our criticism.’
      • ‘Annika Sorenstam, for one, will be motivated like no other to lift the trophy on home soil.’
      • ‘The government has lost its way and I for one am fed up of being told what to do by someone as out as touch as him.’
      • ‘The bookmakers, for one, weren't taking too many bets outside of the Gauls and the Poms.’
      • ‘I for one, greatly admire Sean Connery, he is an all round good guy and a real man.’
      • ‘I for one have not seen the town and surrounding areas look so clean the years.’
      • ‘He wants to leave a legacy that will live forever and I for one believe he will do it.’
      • ‘He, for one, is not sure that the company would ever wish to sell the drug.’
      • ‘I for one am at a loss to understand how a hidden camera can have that effect.’
  • get it in one

    • informal Understand or succeed in guessing something immediately:

      ‘‘You're just trying to distract me.’ She grinned. ‘Got it in one!’’
      • ‘When Edna says ‘Men of Bob's age are unstable, prone to weakness ’, she's got it in one.’
      • ‘‘You got it in one,’ the look Beth gave Jen was just a bit more respectful.’
      • ‘Yup, you got it in one: companies would over-charge customers for the life assurance cover as well.’
      • ‘She smiled; I got it in one - Colin's ex-girlfriend.’
      • ‘Three guesses as to what that might be… yes, you got it in one: the newly released Academic Legal Writing, written by a contributor to this blog.’
  • have one over the eight

    • informal Have one drink too many.

      • ‘Relations became strained following an incident in which a Constable is alleged to have had one over the eight, and to have caused a fire.’
      • ‘How do you behave when you've had one over the eight?’
      • ‘Some people get aggressive when they've had one over the eight.’
      • ‘If I do have one over the eight it's not far to go home.’
      drink alcohol, take alcohol, tipple, indulge
      View synonyms
  • one after another (or the other)

    • Following each other in quick succession:

      ‘one after another the buses drew up’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘While the three stories are separate and told one after the other, they share certain characters as well as the setting.’
      • ‘Ms. McGarvie says it has become trendy to be in a series of year-long relationships, one after another.’
      • ‘Three lessons of physics on a Thursday afternoon, one after the other.’
      • ‘Rock and roll numbers, soul blockbusters and blues' anthems are knocked out one after the other at a breathless pace.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘This morning we flew over Lake George as the sun rose, illuminating the dams one after the other like beacons.’
      • ‘This could conceivably mean that Paul Simon, U2, and Eminem will all be performing one after the other.’
      • ‘Events follow one after another and there comes a scene where the authorities hold him captive and question his identity.’
      successive, succeeding, following, in succession, running, in a row, one after the other, back-to-back, continuous, solid, straight, uninterrupted, unbroken
      View synonyms
  • one and all

    • Everyone:

      ‘well done one and all!’
      • ‘Thank you one and all, including the receptionists and nurses.’
      • ‘Neither firm nor trustees inquired into alternatives for members other than closing the final salary pension scheme to one and all.’
      • ‘His gentle and sincere disposition endeared him to one and all.’
      • ‘A great night of fun and entertainment is promised to one and all with music on the night by the ever popular Quality Street.’
      • ‘Yeah, you see, I've tried very, very hard to come up with a paragraph that'll win me busloads of sympathy from one and all.’
      • ‘A good time was had by one and all and there are no complaints.’
      • ‘The thoughts of one and all, both in the comment box and by email were appreciated.’
      • ‘We had a lovely session at our ManchesterSummit, introducing one and all to Blogging.’
      • ‘A very happy New Year to one and all; and just as importantly for our industry, I hope it's prosperous.’
      • ‘A sincere thanks to one and all and best wishes to everyone for a very Happy Christmas and prosperous New Year.’
      without opposition, with one accord, with one mind, to a man, as one, one and all, each and every one, bar none, without exception
      View synonyms
  • 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 Ali’
      • ‘She claims, though, that it was the one and only time she'd been fired from a job.’
      • ‘So I suppose this entry could count as my obligatory, one and only, intoxicated post.’
      • ‘Soon after, she auditioned for the one and only part in Joan MacLeod's play The Shape of a Girl.’
      • ‘I suppose that's my one and only chance to see him live, and I will treasure that memory for ever.’
      • ‘My one and only business-class flight, and I couldn't wait for it to be over.’
      • ‘This appears to be Harper Lee's one and only novel, and justifiably considered a classic.’
      • ‘It is the one and only time his actions or words betray his age.’
      • ‘Indeed the one and only, the inimitable John Dillon had delivered free traffic to Dublin.’
      • ‘The panel of judges includes the one and only John Romero, creator of Doom!’
      • ‘The stage was set for the era of black and white films and the mood for the era of the one and only Raj Kapoor.’
  • one by one

    • Separately and in succession; singly.

      • ‘Then it was time for all the sixth graders to go up one by one to get their promotion papers.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘To her horror, he doesn't stop there and goes on to admit all his crimes one by one.’
      • ‘I re-organised my finances, sold some shares and then paid off my cards one by one until my debt was gone.’
      • ‘The doctor said that anyone who wanted to see her could come one by one to say goodbye.’
      • ‘Mr Clegg then carried the group one one by one to the safety of the ground below.’
      • ‘I suggested she made notes and then at the end of each section I would deal with her individual remarks one by one.’
      • ‘We were able to put a platform across and took each person out of the lift, one by one.’
      • ‘The steps, which have been blocked off since the end of July, are being replaced one by one.’
      • ‘We left quietly, one by one, without telling anyone and without taking anything with us.’
      one by one, one at a time, one after the other, individually, separately, by oneself, on one's own
      View synonyms
  • one day

    • see day
      • ‘I like the guy and hope that one day he fulfills his potential as the next great Knicks superstar.’
      • ‘One day they play like kings, the next day like paupers.’
      • ‘Walter, a milkman, dreamed of one day running his own business - getting rich and being his own boss.’
      • ‘One day, perhaps, I will get to witness a performance of the whole of the ballet, rather than selections.’
      • ‘One day, Frank invited me over to his place to see his audio gear.’
    • 1At a particular but unspecified time in the past:

      ‘one day a boy started teasing Grady’
      • ‘And who knows, I might need a job as a lobbyist with them one of these days.’
      • ‘It's about sleep, a subject I've been researching for a novel that I hope will get written one of these days.’
      • ‘Because one of these days, the Democrats are going to be in the majority.’
      • ‘My guess is that common sense will make a comeback one of these days.’
      • ‘And Jane, I really do hope you plan to do a story on female scientists one of these days.’
      • ‘The committee members told me that one of these days, I might face the problem of getting arrested.’
      • ‘How lucky would I be to see her cheery little face walking up my drive one of these days?’
      • ‘She says it's going to get her killed one of these days, and I believe her.’
      • ‘I guess it's canned spaghetti for lunch; I really have to go shopping for food one of these days.’
      • ‘I'll pop by there one of these days and see if that wooden house is still there.’
      • ‘I will understand the concept of discipline one of these days.’
      • ‘They are questions we will all be forced to deal with one of these days.’
      • ‘I hope to do a Weekender front page story on Tunisia one of these days soon.’
      • ‘I mentioned earlier you might wind up on the U.S. Supreme Court one of these days.’
      • ‘We look forward to you getting a straightforward answer to that question one of these days.’
      • ‘Someone is going to get killed that way one of these days.’
      • ‘The volunteers would also appreciate payment one of these days - something that has not yet happened.’
      • ‘I also heard that he'll come by, one of these days, to meet with the people.’
      • ‘God, my rapier wit will get me in trouble one of these days.’
      • ‘He lives over in Cayman Brac, and one of these days, I am going to go over there and meet him in person.’
      1. 1.1At a particular but unspecified time in the future:
        ‘our wishes will come true one of these days’
        ‘he would one day be a great President’
  • one for one

    • Denoting or referring to a situation in which one thing corresponds to or is exchanged for another:

      ‘these donations would be matched on a one-for-one basis with public revenues’
      • ‘Even the simple one-for-one replacement of existing light sources with new, high efficiency sources will produce significant savings.’
      • ‘It was one for one, and before Lyle could react, Dominic kicked him in the chest where he had just been hit, sending him flying.’
      • ‘To save time, the decision was made to simply replace lamps and ballasts on a one-for-one basis.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘An individual gene doesn't necessarily confer a trait, a kind of a one for one relationship, and the drug industry has been a bit disappointed by the pay-off from the human genome project so far.’
  • one of a kind

    • Unique.

      • ‘The child is no longer a unique creation - one of a kind - but rather an engineered reproduction.’
      • ‘This score remains a singular achievement - a unique, one of a kind opera.’
      • ‘He is truly a brilliant man, and he is certainly one of a kind.’
      • ‘He's one of a kind, and there's just never going to be another Bob Hope.’
      • ‘Mr. Lane is one of a kind, and it's not just a birthday but an entire career that merits celebration.’
      • ‘Rollins may be one of a kind - an unusual mix of the analytical, cerebral, creative, and spiritual.’
      • ‘As far as the medical profession is concerned, Tanya is one of a kind and her condition is now known as Donaldson's Syndrome.’
      • ‘One of a kind, the film is proof that American cinema still knows how to take risks and let the imagination soar.’
      • ‘America's demographic vitality makes it nearly one of a kind among modern nations.’
      • ‘Our control room is one of a kind and is absolutely superb.’
  • 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 categories’
      • ‘Every foreign policy action tends to reinforce one or the other of these approaches.’
      • ‘Sometimes one or the other of you will even find yourself considering giving up on the whole thing and ending the relationship.’
      • ‘That way, guests will move around more and not congregate next to one or the other in a big group.’
      • ‘Instead I regularly travel to one or another of the more politically enlightened towns mentioned earlier to spend my pension.’
      • ‘He was sure that one or another of his brothers would accompany me to the peak.’
      • ‘So, at any one time, one or another of us is going through some sort of turmoil, giving rise to unhappiness.’
      • ‘There's only one explanation, and that is that one or the other of them went through our garbage and stole from it.’
      • ‘Each block is labeled with the name of one or another of the characters.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘If one or the other of them gets control of that, they get control of the business.’
  • one or two

    • informal A few:

      ‘there are one or two signs worth watching for’
      • ‘There are one or two other people slouching around the departure area dispiritedly.’
      • ‘Football wouldn't be the addictive game it is if it didn't throw up one or two surprises.’
      • ‘What further annoyed me was that there were one or two vacant seats but these were reserved.’
      • ‘One or two of his performers are experienced semiprofessionals who have competed in regional story-telling competitions.’
      • ‘I'll also be catching up with a couple of other friends and maybe even making one or two new ones.’
      • ‘They have one or two players that he might loan to us and if they are good enough we would welcome them into our team.’
      • ‘Apart from him and one or two others, I haven't a clue who most of these people are.’
      • ‘However, there are one or two things I would like to pick up on from your reports last week.’
      • ‘Some of them thought Paul Michel was real - one or two even tried to get hold of his novels.’
      • ‘It was a lovely sunny day, and one or two of us were even contemplating going for a little dip in the sea.’
      handful, few, one or two, not many, a small number
      View synonyms
  • one thing and another

    • informal Used to cover various unspecified matters or events:

      ‘what with one thing and another she hadn't had much sleep recently’
      • ‘There has been so much building here, we have been swamped by houses and one thing and another.’
      • ‘She's not been at her best recently what with one thing and another (mostly as a result of having an idiot for a husband), so it's your job to cheer her up a bit.’
      • ‘What with one thing and another, I've neglected to reply to Right Wing Film Geek's thoughtful reply to me.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘What with one thing and another, I don't think weddings have been high on my agenda in the past few months - at least that's my excuse.’
      • ‘I like my subject, but what with one thing and another I'm a bit overwhelmed here, and I could really do with some help.’
      • ‘He said: ‘Farmers, landowners and rural businesses of all types have had a rough time recently with one thing and another.’’
      • ‘For the past year he's been in and out of hospital with one thing and another.’
      • ‘It's been quite a strenuous twenty-four hours, what with one thing and another.’
      • ‘I think they're perfectly capable of cooperating here and there on one thing and another.’
  • the one

    • informal A person regarded as one's destined life partner:

      ‘it sounds corny, but I think he's the one’
      • ‘Well why not, we believe in horoscopes and fortune tellers and any mumbo jumbo people tell us about meeting 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.’
      • ‘How the heck do you know if the one you love IS THE ONE?’
      • ‘Well, I thought she could really (I mean it) be the one.’
      • ‘It can't be easy getting all tarted up a couple of times a week in the hope that your blind date could be the one.’
      • ‘Just continue to live your life, being receptive to the idea of running into the one when you least expect it.’
      • ‘Some people never meet the one.’
      • ‘If she really is THE ONE, as Charles would say, I have to get this right.’
      • ‘Tell her that although she's beautiful, funny, clever, sexy, adorable, loving, kind etc. etc., she's just not "THE ONE".’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He told his MOM that he thought I was the one.’

Origin

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.

Pronunciation:

one

/wʌn/