(noun, adjective, adverb, conjunction)


1. being the only one; single and isolated from others

- an only child

Similar word(s): single, lone, lonesome, sole, solitary

2. exclusive of anyone or anything else

- I'll have this car and this car only

Similar word(s): exclusive, alone

Sentences with only as an adjective:

- He is the only doctor for miles.

- The only people in the stadium were the fans: no players, coaches, or officials.

- Only the cat sat on the mat. The dog never did.

- The only cat sat on the only mat.

- He is the only trombonist to recruit.

- He is their only son, in fact, an only child.


1. and nothing more

- he was only a child

Similar word(s): but, just, merely, simply

2. without any others being included or involved

- a privilege granted only to him

Similar word(s): alone, entirely, exclusively, solely

3. with nevertheless the final result

- He arrived only to find his wife dead

- We won only to lose again in the next round

4. in the final outcome

- These news will only make you more upset

5. except that

- It was the same story; only this time she came out better

6. never except when

- call me only if your cold gets worse

7. as recently as

- I spoke to him only an hour ago

Sentences with only as an adverb:

- My heart is hers, and hers only.

- The cat only sat on the mat. It didn't scratch it.

- He left only moments ago.


1. Under the condition that; but.

2. But; except.

- I would enjoy running, only I have this broken leg.


1. (rare) An only child.