Main definitions of at in English

: at1at2At3

at1

preposition

  • 1Expressing location or arrival in a particular place or position.

    ‘they live at Conway House’
    ‘they stopped at a small trattoria’
    ‘she was constantly at the telex machine’
    • ‘He made his first professional stage appearance in George Bernard Shaw's ‘The Devil's Disciple’ at the Gaiety Theatre.’
    • ‘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.’
    1. 1.1 Used in speech to indicate the sign @ in email addresses, separating the address holder's name from their location.
      • ‘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’
    • ‘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.’
    1. 2.1without adjective Denoting a particular period of time.
      ‘the sea is cooler at night’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It is important that people going out in London can get home safely at night, by public transport, black cab or licensed minicab.’
      • ‘If you know of someone who is thinking of purchasing a rabbit at Easter, let them know it's a bad idea.’
    2. 2.2without adjective Denoting the time spent by someone attending an educational institution, a workplace, or their home.
      ‘we all need to get involved in fighting crime whether it's at work, at home, or at school’
      • ‘It was at school that I began to play chess with my friend Brian.’
      • ‘It was at university that he became politically active.’
      no later than, in good time for, at, before
      View synonyms
  • 3Denoting a particular point or segment on a scale.

    ‘prices start at $18,500’
    ‘driving at 50 mph’
    • ‘Electrons move at a speed of a few kilometres per second through a circuit, whereas light travels at nearly 300,000 kilometres per second.’
    • ‘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.’
    1. 3.1 Referring to someone's age.
      ‘at fourteen he began to work as a mailman’
      • ‘At forty-five, he ran for the Senate and lost.’
      • ‘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.’
  • 4Expressing a particular state or condition.

    ‘placed them at a serious disadvantage’
    ‘the coroner accepted that the machines were at fault’
    • ‘That way I can record shows and listen to them at my leisure.’
    • ‘I could not be really happy or be at peace living like that.’
    • ‘People in lighter vehicles are at a disadvantage in collisions with heavier vehicles.’
    • ‘Candidates with exposure to international trade and two years of editorial/writing experience in the electronics/computer industry would be at an advantage.’
    1. 4.1 Expressing a relationship between an individual and a skill.
      ‘boxing was the only sport I was any good at’
      ‘he is poor at giving instructions’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Women are said to be poor at reading maps.’
  • 5Expressing the object of a look, gesture, thought, action, or plan.

    ‘I looked at my watch’
    ‘Leslie pointed at him’
    • ‘How old was your baby when she smiled at you for the first time?’
    • ‘As he entered the clubhouse he glanced at the pictures of famous yachts that hang on the walls.’
    • ‘A new credit card aimed at millions of low-income families is to charge interest at up to 70% - the highest ever charged by a credit card company.’
    • ‘At the same moment, they shone a torch at me to identify me.’
    1. 5.1 Expressing the target of a shot from a weapon.
      ‘they tore down the main street, firing at anyone in sight’
      • ‘Police arrested a man for allegedly shooting at another patron during a fight at a bar on State Street Tuesday evening.’
      • ‘The snipers were two individuals shooting randomly at anyone.’
    2. 5.2 Emphasizing the directing of an action toward a specified object.
      ‘she clutched at the thin gown’
      ‘he hit at her face with the gun’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Briars and thorns tore at my legs.’
  • 6Expressing the means by which something is done.

    ‘holding a corrections officer at knifepoint’
    figurative ‘her pride had taken a beating at his hands’
    • ‘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.’

Phrases

  • at all

    • with negative or in questions(used for emphasis) in any way; to any extent.

      ‘I don't like him at all’
      ‘did he suffer at all?’
      • ‘I don't think that the government will change at all.’
      • ‘Most of us would probably want to stay in bed if at all possible and give advice over the phone.’
      • ‘The criticism really wasn't accurate at all.’
      • ‘There were eight children and no groceries, no money to buy soap, no money to buy anything at all.’
      • ‘One of them is poor to the extent that their parent cannot afford to support them at all.’
      • ‘He added that people had been advised to avoid the Ashchurch area if at all possible.’
      • ‘She works full time and if she has children at all it will be as late as possible.’
      • ‘They have no principles, at all.’
      conceivably, under any circumstances, by any means, at all, in any way
      View synonyms
  • at first

    • At the beginning; in the initial stage or stages.

      ‘at first Hugh tried to be patient’
      • ‘It was difficult to get funding at first but now there is a consortium of people who have put money into it.’
      • ‘We were a bit dubious about doing the programme at first, but we really enjoyed making it.’
      • ‘It can be a bit daunting at first but once they get started and have a go they really enjoy it and learn quickly.’
      • ‘He was struck by the car as he walked home from a wedding, and at first it was feared he might not survive.’
      • ‘The guy was reluctant at first and refused to come with me, but I could tell he needed my help.’
      • ‘You do have to be a bit of a contortionist at first to engage gear, but it is a sportsbike after all.’
      • ‘She's the daughter of an opera singer, and at first she didn't want to go into opera.’
      • ‘He was fine at first then complained about not feeling well and went back to bed.’
      • ‘He seemed a bit nervous at first but soon settled and gave his usual comic performance.’
      • ‘The driver had not wanted to take him at first because he was so drunk he had to be supported by three women.’
      at first, to begin with, at the beginning, at the start, first of all, at the outset, initially
      View synonyms
  • at it

    • Engaged in some activity, typically a reprehensible one.

      ‘oh dear, they are at it again’
      • ‘I came outside and she was having a rough time at it, mostly because she had no idea what she was doing.’
      • ‘And could she not have done that while she was at it?’
      • ‘While you're at it, it's a good idea to tackle cold frames as well, both inside and out.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘They were at it again in 2001 and have been doing it since the beginning of this year too.’
  • at last

    • After much delay.

      ‘you've come back to me at last!’
      • ‘So I suspect this is one thing that we might get some information on, at long last.’
      • ‘The second reason why I have confidence about the future is that, at long last, sponsors are taking a stand.’
      • ‘Finally, at long last, much surfing on the net brought me to a site that had my mystery plant.’
      • ‘John sent back some of his first earnings from Germany to Mimi, proud that he could help her at last.’
      • ‘Yes it's excellently written and great at last to see a soap invented by a gay man finally able tell it like it is.’
      • ‘Coupled with the power in your house of partners, it's clear you are at last ready to settle down.’
      • ‘It is good to know, at long last, that the party is ready to drop the pretence and face reality.’
      • ‘In the past few weeks, I have, at last, mastered the video, just as it's on its way out.’
      • ‘Swindon looks set to gain a new central library at long last.’
      • ‘Tired but home at last, the kid jumps out of the car and gently rubs his face.’
      finally, in the end, eventually, ultimately, at long last, after a long time, after a considerable time, in time, at the end of the day, in the fullness of time
      View synonyms
  • at least

    • 1Not less than; at the minimum.

      ‘clean the windows at least once a week’
      • ‘They were blocking every exit, and Whitehall had at least ten vans full of officers.’
      • ‘Petunias are easy to grow so long as they are in full sun for at least part of the day.’
      • ‘I see many blokes my age around, carrying at least as much weight and full of vim and vigour.’
      • ‘This needs at least four minutes' brewing time to reveal its full array of flavours.’
      • ‘It would appear that if you know at least one full line from a play, you can probably find it online.’
      • ‘Truth, or at least the whole truth and nothing but the truth, seems way down the list.’
      • ‘He knows what he wants and hopefully he will be allowed at least a full season to put matters straight.’
      • ‘It seemed that our lives then had been happy indeed, or at least, full of hope and content.’
      • ‘On the whole, though, they can at least be expected to grow along with the economy.’
      • ‘No one could cheat by swallowing anything whole because we had to chew it all at least five times.’
      at the minimum, no less than, not less than
      View synonyms
    • 2If nothing else (used to add a positive comment about a generally negative situation)

      ‘the options aren't complete, but at least they're a start’
      • ‘Basically, I was going to be in hell for a whole month or at least until I found a new job.’
      • ‘He is also keen to rescue James from his detractors, or at least to give us the whole picture.’
      • ‘You might be bored stupid and your boss may be a complete cretin, but at least your office is dry.’
      • ‘Not a plan for action, certainly, but at least a creative push in a positive direction.’
      • ‘The consensus among the Elders is that no one would believe you anyway, or at least not many.’
      • ‘What this means is that the relationship is not going anywhere, at least not in a positive way.’
    • 3Anyway (used to modify something just stated)

      ‘they seldom complained—officially at least’
  • at most

  • at once

    • 1Immediately.

      ‘I fell asleep at once’
      • ‘Mr Lane urged any parents who have concerns about the disease to seek medical help at once.’
      • ‘Dust the soufflés with icing sugar and serve at once with the chocolate sauce and fresh berries.’
      • ‘He had seen his future wife Nancy when she was only 13 and decided at once that she was the only girl for him.’
      • ‘When using oil, the mixture should be combined as quickly as possible, then baked at once.’
      • ‘Anyone with concerns is asked to contact their nearest health centre at once.’
      • ‘If it is broken it must be used at once, for it discolours and spoils quickly.’
      • ‘In most companies, employees have got used to going back to work at once after lunch.’
      • ‘Campaigners fighting to keep homes for the elderly open urged the Council to spend the pot of cash at once.’
      • ‘There would have been every reason for them to have made such facts public at once.’
      • ‘The call goes to Birkenshaw who have files on all the area and can direct a fire crew to me at once.’
      immediately, right away, right now, this instant, this minute, this moment, this second, now, straight away, instantly, instantaneously, directly, suddenly, abruptly, summarily, forthwith, promptly, without delay, without hesitation, without further ado
      View synonyms
    • 2Simultaneously.

      ‘computers that can do many things at once’
      • ‘Everything is happening at once at the moment, in a manner that is proving really rather hard to deal with.’
      • ‘Fast bowlers are a bit like buses, none for ages and then two come along at once.’
      • ‘In the low light of the gallery the effect is at once beautiful and rather ominous.’
      • ‘Most games that try to do a lot of things at once fall apart at the seams, so both of these are something special.’
      • ‘The months seem to be slipping by very quickly now, and I'm working on two issues at once at the moment.’
      • ‘A mean, penetrating rain, the type that comes at you from all directions at once.’
      • ‘A few trains arrived at once and all of a sudden thousands swarmed the exit all pushing and miserable.’
      • ‘There was a slow churning of his thought processes as two ideas came together at once.’
      • ‘He's trying to do his job but he can't be everywhere and see everything at once.’
      • ‘Blogger has suddenly started emailing me comments again so they all arrived at once.’
      at the same time, at one and the same time, at the same instant, at the same moment, together, all together, simultaneously
      View synonyms
  • at that

    • In addition; furthermore.

      ‘it was not fog but smoke, and very thick at that’
      • ‘All a matter of opinion, of course, and in the cases of Randall and Morris, an educated opinion at that.’
      • ‘No, this shore is not a destination for me; it is just a refuge, and a temporary one at that.’
      • ‘When she fell pregnant, Sara was hoping she would be having twins - and girls at that.’
      • ‘Instead of thunder, the company had been struck by a need to change the cast, and no minor change at that.’
      • ‘We now live in a country where citizens can be executed without trial, and by a foreign government at that.’
      • ‘All the time a game of football was being played, and a pretty good one at that.’
      • ‘So, the Tate is at least making an effort to display more art, and a big, expensive one at that.’
      • ‘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 are the kind of people, he thought, who buy their own furniture and second-hand at that.’
      • ‘London looks set to receive a new evening paper soon, and a free one at that.’
  • where it's at

    • informal The fashionable place, possession, or activity.

      ‘New York is where it's at, stylewise’
      • ‘It's understandable that the food police might object to an article suggesting that bread and potatoes are not where it's at.’
      • ‘Italian markets really are where it's at because everything is seasonal and it's mostly organic.’
      • ‘And they end up drinking the same drink, in the company of the same people, fondly imagining that because they moved through several pubs, this is really where it's at!’
      • ‘What we are doing is we are going with the youth; we are going with the people who know where it's at.’
      • ‘Twisted denim is where it's at, for women and men.’
      • ‘There are a lot of clues pointing you in the right direction, but nobody just tells you where it's at.’
      • ‘As we used to say in the Sixties, wherever Zandra Rhodes is, is where it's at.’
      • ‘Everyone is talking about California - it's so where it's at, I think.’
      • ‘Europe is where it's at, home of the UEFA Champions' League, a powerbase for the game globally, and a workplace for the planet's most talented players.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I'm a huge, huge fan of festivals, so that's where it's at for me this summer.’
      • ‘Presidents and dignitaries have worn his designs, but Iwan Tirta says home is really where it's at.’
      • ‘Juice is good too, but water, baby, that's where it's at.’
      • ‘As nice as it is to be liked by your home country, to Canadians, international success is where it's at.’
      • ‘There is evidence, though, that the young have become so seduced by the celebrity culture that their only ambition is to be famous and that working for a living is not where it's at.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘‘This is where it's at,’ said one of the prime minister's closest advisors.’
      • ‘Celebrating all things multidisciplinary, the first ever Vasistas festival is here to show us all that multi-tasking art is where it's at.’
      • ‘If everyone can be skinny, thin won't be in, but fat will start being where it's at.’
      • ‘All things Norwegian seem to be where it's at at the minute.’
      • ‘But locals here realize that tourism is where it's at for them.’
  • 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’
      • ‘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.’
  • not at all

    • 1Used as a polite response to thanks.

    • 2Definitely not.

      ‘“You don't mind?” “Not at all.”’
      • ‘In Louisbourg, a few people had flooding problems, but not at all on the scale of other areas.’
      • ‘I do not at all mind if Will somehow finds this out, but I met many a fine young man that afternoon.’
      • ‘I hasten to add that it is not that we want to pay more for our groceries - not at all.’
      • ‘Except that he was not at all, not even remotely, for a single second, funny.’
      • ‘The air between them was still hot with passion and their minds were not at all set on school.’
      • ‘It is not at all what I had expected: but then, most people have no idea what asparagus looks like when it is growing.’
      • ‘I thrive on this time of year and do not at all mind the darkening of the days.’
      • ‘Bearing this in mind, it is not at all surprising that charges of abuse of process gained momentum.’
      • ‘The parents are terrified, their fears not at all eased by being referred to a brain surgeon.’
      • ‘This is not at all what a government website for the promotion of a nation's tourism should look like.’
      not at all, in no way, not in the least, not in the slightest, not the least bit, not by a long shot, certainly not, absolutely not, definitely not, on no account, under no circumstances
      View synonyms

Origin

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’.

Pronunciation

Main definitions of at in English

: at1at2At3

at2

noun

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

Origin

Thai.

Pronunciation

at

/ät//ɑt/

Main definitions of at in English

: at1at2At3

At3

  • The chemical element astatine.