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From Middle English oneonoanan, from Old English ān (one), from Proto-West Germanic *ain, from Proto-Germanic *ainaz (one), from Proto-Indo-European *óynos (single, one). Cognate with Scots aeanewanyin (one)North Frisian ån (one)Saterland Frisian aan (one)West Frisian ien (one)Dutch eenéén (one)German Low German eenGerman eineins (one)Swedish en (one)Norwegian Nynorsk ein (one)Icelandic einn (one)Latin ūnus (one) (Old Latin oinos); Russian оди́н (odín). Doublet of Uno.

Verb form from Middle English onen.

Around the 14th century, in southwest and western England, the word began to be pronounced with an initial /w/ (compare e.g. woak, Middle English wocke, a dialectal form of oak), and the spellings won and wone began to be found alongside onone; the /w/ had become the norm by the 18th century. In aloneatone, and only, as well as in the dialectal form un, ‘un (and in none and no), the older pronunciations without /w/ are preserved, while once shows the same /w/.


  • (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key)/wʌn/[wɐn]
  • (General Australian) IPA(key)/wan/[wän]
  • (UK) IPA(key)/wɒn/
  • (US) enPR: wŭn, IPA(key)/wʌn/

Alternative forms

  • woneo (both obsolete)
  • (Arabic numeral): 1 (see for numerical forms in other scripts)
  • (Roman numeral): I



  1. The number represented by the Arabic numeral 1; the numerical value equal to that cardinal number.
    In some religions, there is only one god.
    In many cultures, a baby turns one year old a year after its birth.
    One person, one vote.
  2. (number theory) The first positive number in the set of natural numbers.
  3. (set theory) The cardinality of the smallest nonempty set.
  4. (mathematics) The ordinality of an element which has no predecessor, usually called first or number one.


one (reflexive oneselfpossessive adjective one’splural ones)

  1. (impersonal pronoun, indefinite) One thing (among a group of others); one member of a group.
    Any one of the boys.  The big one looks good.  I want the green one.  Every one of the bank’s employees.  A good driver is one who drives carefully.
  2. (impersonal pronoun, sometimes with “the”) The first mentioned of two things or people, as opposed to the other.
    She offered him an apple and an orange; he took one and left the other.
  3. (indefinite personal pronoun) Any person (applying to people in general).
    One’s guilt may trouble one, but it is best not to let oneself be troubled by things which cannot be changed.  One shouldn’t be too quick to judge.
  4. (pronoun) Any person, entity or thing.
    “driver”, noun: one who drives.


one (plural ones)

  1. The digit or figure 1.
  2. (mathematics) The neutral element with respect to multiplication in a ring.
  3. (US) A one-dollar bill.
  4. One o’clock, either a.m. or p.m.
  5. (cricket) One run scored by hitting the ball and running between the wickets; a single.
  6. A joke or amusing anecdote.
    Did you hear the one about the agnostic dyslexic insomniac?
  7. (colloquial) A particularly special or compatible person or thing.
    I knew as soon I met him that John was the one for me and we were married within a month.
    That car’s the one — I’ll buy it.
  8. (Internet slang, leetspeak, sarcastic) Used instead of ! to amplify an exclamation, parodying unskilled typists who forget to press the shift key while typing exclamation points, thus typing “1”.

    A: SUM1 Hl3p ME im alwyz L0ziN!1!?1!

    Someone help me; I’m always losing!?

    B: y d0nt u just g0 away l0zer!!1!!one!!one!!eleven!!1!

    Why don’t you just go away loser!
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