One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
(of a word or expression) coined for or used on one occasion.‘a nonce usage’
- ‘Is this a nonce instance, or are ‘home’ and ‘hone’ trading places?’
- ‘Among sports we have terms like parascending and surfari, and nonce adjectives such as sportsational or swimsational which blend words with the last element of sensational.’
for the nonce
For the present; temporarily.‘the room had been converted for the nonce into a nursery’
for the time being, for the interim, for a while, for now, for the moment, for the present, at present, just now, in the meanwhile, the while, meantime, in the meantime, in the intervening period, provisionally, temporarily, pro temView synonyms
- ‘I hope the massive quantities of text I put up earlier will suffice for the nonce.’
- ‘Just work with me for the nonce, and agree that whether or not your position happens to be the legally correct one, it is very, very hard to separate your opinion on the law from your opinion on the candidates.’
- ‘Democracy Radio, which for the nonce has only two nationally syndicated programs, broadcasting a combined six hours a week, is on about twice as many stations as Air America.’
- ‘But if you are going to intervene in the north, and abandon your interests in the south for the nonce, then you may as well do so quickly.’
- ‘That does mean using the military for ‘nation-building’ in some way or other, for the nonce.’
- ‘Force his attention to the facts and he will, to be sure, appear for the nonce to take cognizance of them, will even be troubled, for he is not inhumane.’
- ‘You have escaped your chains for the nonce, so, be content!’
- ‘For the nonce though, I leave you with this thought.’
Middle English: from then anes ‘the one (purpose’) (from then, obsolete oblique form of the + ane ‘one’ + -s), altered by wrong division; compare with newt and nickname.
A person convicted of a sexual offense, especially child molesting.
- ‘They accused her of being a "nonce" and over the next hour-and-a-half she was subjected to a terrifying ordeal.’
- ‘I once remember somebody on a bus telling the conductor what he would like to do to a nonce.’
- ‘Morisa continued: 'Even my boyfriend used to call him a nonce.'’
- ‘But why not give an amnesty to all the dopefiends, which would give us more space for the murderers, rapists, and nonces?’
- ‘If they're not terrorists, they're probably nonces anyway.’
1970s: of unknown origin.
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