Main definitions of till in English

: till1till2till3till4

till1

conjunction & preposition

  • less formal way of saying until
    • ‘He apologises for being a bit dazed; he was here till 3am the night before.’
    • ‘As it happens, the lads are a little bleary-eyed today, having partied till late the previous night.’
    • ‘That is a sight I will remember till I die, long after the sight of the Hollywood sign has faded far from view.’
    • ‘Plenty of times he has sat up till over 4am with a sick person in the parish and would still be up for Mass the next morning.’
    • ‘On the whole, in Hollywood, they only hate you till they need you.’
    • ‘My case was different because I waited till my college graduation to take time off.’
    • ‘From now till next spring the club will organise outings, competitions and fundraising events.’
    • ‘It's not an easy pill to swallow for Canadians, but it's time to test the patience and just wait till next year.’
    • ‘The have to order them so I can't start wearing them till next week.’
    • ‘It's fixed up and polished till it proudly gleams again and catches the eye of yet another prospective owner.’
    • ‘This fast he would carry out till the end, or until the Government of India relented.’
    • ‘So back and forth went the stiff haggling till we reached a compromise.’
    • ‘We sing for four to four-and-a-half hours, and everyone listens till the end.’
    • ‘Guess audiences will have to wait till the opening night to find out if the adaptation hooks them as much as it did the director.’
    • ‘I'll carry on modelling until I get fed up with it, till I decide I want to do something a bit more with my life.’
    • ‘I didn't think she was going to hang on till the end, but she did.’
    • ‘The revelers partied on till midnight, until everyone had their fill of food, drink and dancing.’
    • ‘Of course, because it's New Year, you're forced to stay out till at least 1am.’
    • ‘The police refused till the previous owners were tracked down and said that would require too much police work.’
    • ‘She may not even last till the end of her six-year term if she is weakened by any disenchantment.’
    until, up to, up till, up until, as late as, up to the time of, up to the time that, until such time as, pending
    before, prior to, previous to, up to, until, up until, up till, earlier than, in advance of, ante-, pre-
    before, prior to, previous to, up to, until, up until, up till, earlier than, in advance of, ante-, pre-
    until, up to, up till, up until, as late as, up to the time of, up to the time that, until such time as, pending
    View synonyms

Usage

In most contexts, till and until have the same meaning and are interchangeable. The main difference is that till is generally considered to be more informal than until. Until occurs much more frequently than till in writing. In addition, until tends to be the natural choice at the beginning of a sentence: until very recently, there was still a chance of rescuing the situation. Interestingly, while it is commonly assumed that till is an abbreviated form of until (the spellings 'till and 'til reflect this), till is in fact the earlier form. Until appears to have been formed by the addition of Old Norse und (‘as far as’) several hundred years after the date of the first records for till

Origin

Old English til, of Germanic origin; related to Old Norse til ‘to’, also ultimately to till.

Pronunciation

till

/tɪl/

Main definitions of till in English

: till1till2till3till4

till2

noun

  • A cash register or drawer for money in a shop, bank, or restaurant.

    ‘there were queues at the till’
    ‘checkout tills’
    • ‘Whilst waiting for a member of staff to fetch the card, the man produced a gun, jumped over the counter and took money from both tills.’
    • ‘The assistant had taken the money and opened the till, when the man jumped over the counter and pushed her.’
    • ‘Crowds of shoppers queued to get in shops and then queued at the tills.’
    • ‘The robbers forced the drawers from the two tills on the main counter and the drive-through and ran off with an undisclosed amount of money.’
    • ‘Thieves grabbed cash from a till in a wine shop and escaped with about £190.’
    • ‘Questions were raised as to why barcodes were missing from stock and receipts were not used when money passed through the shop tills.’
    • ‘I work harder than most people here, sell more beer, take more money, and my tills are always spot on at the end of the night.’
    • ‘That went fine until they opened the till to pull out the cash.’
    • ‘Previously thriving tea rooms and the farm shops were empty and tills stood idle.’
    • ‘The pair, both wearing black balaclavas, held three women at gunpoint with a small black pistol, while demanding money from the tills.’
    • ‘He then ordered an employee to turn over money from both of the shop's tills.’
    • ‘He said it probably belonged to an engineer who was repairing one of the service tills on Friday.’
    • ‘Shop staff have been warned to be on their guard after two men tried to steal money from a till.’
    • ‘As well as the money ringing in charity shop tills, they collect throughout the day, choosing a local good cause to benefit.’
    • ‘What follows is the city economy in decline, no money in the tills and shops closing.’
    • ‘But when the shop assistant opened the till, the thief grabbed the notes and made off.’
    • ‘They took money from the till and a quantity of cigarettes after threatening staff.’
    • ‘I would guess they just tot up the totals and check that the till has that much money in it.’
    • ‘Why not scrap all parking fees for, say, one month, and hear the shop tills ring?’
    • ‘In some cases, retailers are also using advances in electronic technology to link tills to cigarette dispensing machines.’
    cash register, cash box, cash drawer, strongbox
    View synonyms

Phrases

  • have (or with) one's fingers (or hand) in the till

    • Used in reference to theft from one's place of work.

      ‘he was caught with his hand in the till and sacked’
      • ‘A fish restaurant manageress falsely accused her employer of tax fraud when she was caught with her hand in the till, York Crown Court heard.’
      • ‘He has, in effect, been caught with his hand in the till.’
      • ‘Now his successor has been caught with his fingers in the till.’
      • ‘A bar worker at a the hotel was caught with his fingers in the till after management set up a covert surveillance system.’
      • ‘He ran a bank in Jordan in the 1980s, but had to flee Amman in 1989 when he allegedly was caught with his hand in the till.’
      • ‘He got caught with his hand in the till so to speak.’
      • ‘Of course, then he was caught with his hand in the till.’
      • ‘Similarly, recent years have seen Belgian politicians snared with their fingers in the till.’
      • ‘That poor bloke has been caught with his hand in the till over his EU expenses.’
      • ‘Instances abound of corrupt politicians, caught beyond a shadow of doubt with their hand in the till, comfortably re-elected in the very next election.’
      steal, thieve, rob one's employer, help oneself, embezzle, misappropriate funds
      View synonyms

Origin

Late Middle English (in the general sense ‘drawer or compartment for valuables’): of unknown origin.

Pronunciation

till

/tɪl/

Main definitions of till in English

: till1till2till3till4

till3

verb

[with object]
  • Prepare and cultivate (land) for crops.

    ‘no land was being tilled or crops sown’
    • ‘The Tongas whose major occupation has been agriculture used livestock for tilling the land, getting milk for sale and home consumption.’
    • ‘Aggie and her husband Pat were farming people who tilled the land, harvested the crops and raised livestock.’
    • ‘The farmers tilled the arable land and the grazers fed their herds in land unfit for farming.’
    • ‘This is because correct land selection is the most important aspect every grower should consider before tilling their land.’
    • ‘Settlers tilled the land, maintained livestock, and fished along the shore.’
    • ‘The fields can no longer be tilled because the crops won't grow any more.’
    • ‘But the essence is to offer those local farmers and communities a different and better way of tilling their land, of growing things properly in a law abiding way.’
    • ‘They were farming people who worked and tilled the land and raised livestock.’
    • ‘Marty and Clark have settled into their married life together, busily tilling the land and tending to their two youngest children.’
    • ‘Delia and Jimmy were farming people who tilled the land and looked after the livestock.’
    • ‘Land records are rarely updated, and people who have been tilling the land for years after inheriting it from their parents are not listed as co-sharers.’
    • ‘Consequently, the landless formulated a code of their own for agrarian reform, based on the principle that only those directly tilling the land had a right to own it.’
    • ‘If all those workers had remained tilling the land, America would now be a lot poorer.’
    • ‘Some land was tilled, mainly for the cultivation of oats that formed a staple part of the diet of the settler community.’
    • ‘Just a quarter of the country's farm land is tilled under valid land use contracts.’
    • ‘The British arrived from a land of neat farms, specific hedgerows, a regular cycle of tilling the land and a cultivation timetable based on seasons.’
    • ‘The participants also learnt that tilling their land every season was a bad practice which led to poor yields as the soil's chemistry and physics were destabilised.’
    • ‘More than 80 percent of Palestinians lived in villages and tilled the land of absentee landlords.’
    • ‘The cave where their grandfather lived while he tilled the land for the first time stood behind us.’
    • ‘But should we not remember who it was who broke the land and tilled the soil?’
    cultivate, work, farm, plough, dig, spade, turn over, turn up, break up, loosen, harrow, prepare, fertilize, plant
    View synonyms

Origin

Old English tilian ‘strive for, obtain by effort’, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch telen ‘produce, cultivate’ and German zielen ‘aim, strive’, also ultimately to till. The current sense dates from Middle English.

Pronunciation

till

/tɪl/

Main definitions of till in English

: till1till2till3till4

till4

noun

mass nounGeology
  • Boulder clay or other sediment deposited by melting glaciers or ice sheets.

    • ‘Glacial tills (boulder clays) and their ancient equivalents, tillites, are of this type.’

Origin

Late 17th century (originally Scots, denoting shale): of unknown origin.

Pronunciation

till

/tɪl/