Definition of soon in US English:



  • 1In or after a short time.

    ‘everyone will soon know the truth’
    ‘he'll be home soon’
    ‘they arrived soon after 7:30’
    • ‘Once in place they seed very easily and can soon take over every available spot.’
    • ‘Unless consumers make a fuss they will soon have no choice on how they enjoy digital music.’
    • ‘Try different baits on each of the hooks, it will soon become evident what the fish prefer.’
    • ‘They argued that if they would have to fight the ban they would prefer to start as soon as possible.’
    • ‘Keep going straight ahead and you soon reach a stream and stile leading to an old barn.’
    • ‘Being on board is like staying in a country house with everyone soon on first name terms.’
    • ‘Hutton will be wrapping up his inquiry soon and the report will be out shortly afterwards.’
    • ‘We pray that the end of the war may come soon, and then once more we may know peace on earth.’
    • ‘The one drawback is that it is short lived and will soon become woody and overlarge.’
    • ‘Still, we persevered and in spite of the traffic it was soon actually rather pleasant.’
    • ‘Zoe soon arrived and we headed back to Gee's where we sat outside and tried not to sound geeky.’
    • ‘With a lit coil around, the mosquitoes begin coughing and either stay away or soon die.’
    • ‘Go the other way and you will soon arrive on one of the fabulous southern beaches.’
    • ‘Taylor didn't object and soon began to laugh once more as they started to muck about.’
    • ‘Indeed he says that many employees are resigned to the idea that they may soon have a new parent.’
    • ‘It has novelty value but that will soon wear off once the menu options are exhausted.’
    • ‘It is almost a year since it was announced that the beleaguered vicar would resign as soon as he got a new job.’
    • ‘With all rear seats in place, the boot is quite small but soon transforms into a vast cavern.’
    • ‘He said that there had been many applications and a short list would soon be drawn up.’
    • ‘I know of men who are in danger of losing their home if the money doesn't arrive soon.’
    in a short time, shortly, presently, in the near future, before long, in a little while, in a minute, in a moment, in an instant, in a twinkling, in the twinkling of an eye, before you know it, any minute, any minute now, any day, any day now, any time, any time now, by and by
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Early.
      ‘it's a pity you have to leave so soon’
      ‘I wish you'd told me sooner’
      ‘it was too soon to know’
      • ‘Sometimes, the people that you want to say things to are snatched away from the world too soon.’
      • ‘I kept putting her off, telling her it was too soon and if we bought it too early it would go off.’
      • ‘Sadly, we have also seen, all too soon, the bitter truth that lives are lost in wars.’
      • ‘At this early stage it is too soon to say whether it has been a good or bad thing to do or what the repercussions of it all might be.’
      earlier, before, beforehand, in advance, in readiness, ahead of time, already
      early, quickly, promptly, speedily, punctually
      View synonyms
  • 2Used to indicate one's preference in a particular matter.

    ‘I'd just as soon Tim did it’
    ‘I would sooner resign than transfer to Toronto’
    • ‘I would as soon die as suffer that.’
    • ‘That was one of those race days I’d just as soon forget.’
    rather, by preference, preferably, by choice, from choice, more willingly, more readily
    View synonyms


In standard English, the phrase no sooner is followed by than, as in we had no sooner arrived than we had to leave. This is because sooner is a comparative, and comparatives are followed by than (earlier than; better than, etc.). It is incorrect to follow no sooner with when rather than than, as in we had no sooner arrived when we had to leave


  • no sooner — than

    • Used to convey that the second event mentioned happens immediately after the first.

      ‘she had no sooner spoken than the telephone rang’
      • ‘No sooner had they realized that they had made a mistake than the company went bankrupt.’
  • sooner or later

    • At some future time; eventually.

      ‘you'll have to tell him sooner or later’
      • ‘And some day, sooner or later, it will have a leader who acknowledges that fact with pride.’
      • ‘Silence and political oblivion come, sooner or later, for every Prime Minister.’
      • ‘I sometimes think singles are pointless because the album will come sooner or later.’
      • ‘The internet will become part of everyone's daily routine sooner or later.’
      • ‘They all either know each other or will get to know each other, sooner or later.’
      • ‘The company clearly committed wrongs, and was bound to cause a storm in the business world sooner or later.’
      • ‘All roads from Sudan lead there, sooner or later, including in the most literal sense, even today.’
      • ‘When it happens, as it must happen sooner or later, I believe it will happen this way.’
      • ‘Marissa glared at him hoping that maybe he'd get the hint sooner or later and finally stop.’
      • ‘Environmental changes in one area of the world eventually affect the rest sooner or later.’
      eventually, in the end, in the long run, at length, finally, sooner or later, in time, in the fullness of time, after some time, in the final analysis, when all is said and done, one day, some day, sometime, at last, at long last
      View synonyms


Old English sōna ‘immediately’, of West Germanic origin.