often


often
oftenness, n.
/aw"feuhn, of"euhn; awf"teuhn, of"-/, adv.
1. many times; frequently: He visits his parents as often as he can.
2. in many cases.
adj.
3. Archaic. frequent.
[1300-50; ME oftin, var. before vowels of ofte OFT]
Syn. 1, 2. repeatedly, customarily. OFTEN, FREQUENTLY, GENERALLY, USUALLY refer to experiences that are customary. OFTEN and FREQUENTLY may be used interchangeably in most cases, but OFTEN implies numerous repetitions and, sometimes, regularity of recurrence: We often go there; FREQUENTLY suggests esp. repetition at comparatively short intervals: It happens frequently.
GENERALLY refers to place and means universally: It is generally understood. He is generally liked; but it is often used as a colloquial substitute for USUALLY. In this sense, GENERALLY, like USUALLY, refers to time, and means in numerous instances. GENERALLY, however, extends in range from the merely numerous to a majority of possible instances; whereas USUALLY means practically always: The train is generally on time. We usually have hot summers.
Ant. 1, 2. seldom.
Pronunciation. OFTEN was pronounced with a t-sound until the 17th century, when a pronunciation without the /t/ came to predominate in the speech of the educated, in both North America and Great Britain, and the earlier pronunciation fell into disfavor. Common use of a spelling pronunciation has since restored the /t/ for many speakers, and today /aw"feuhn/ and /awf"teuhn/ [or /of"euhn/ and /of"teuhn/] exist side by side. Although it is still sometimes criticized, OFTEN with a /t/ is now so widely heard from educated speakers that it has become fully standard once again.

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Universalium. 2010.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • often — often, frequently, oft, oftentimes may be used with little or no distinction to mean again and again in more or less close succession. But often stresses the number of times a thing occurs, without regard to the interval of recurrence; frequently …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • Often — Of ten, a. Frequent; common; repeated. [R.] Thine often infirmities. 1 Tim. v. 23. [1913 Webster] And weary thee with often welcomes. Beau. & Fl. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • often — In current English this is more usually pronounced with the t silent. The comparative forms oftener and oftenest are permissible, although more often and most often are more commonly used …   Modern English usage

  • often — (also archaic or N. Amer. oftentimes) ► ADVERB (oftener, oftenest) 1) frequently. 2) in many instances. USAGE The comparative and superlative forms oftener and oftenest are not incorrect, but are rarely used now in British English, the more usual …   English terms dictionary

  • Often — Of ten ([o^]f n; 115), adv. [Compar. {Oftener} ([o^]f n*[ e]r); superl. {Oftenest}.] [Formerly also ofte, fr. oft. See {Oft}., adv.] Frequently; many times; not seldom. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • often — index chronic Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • often — (adv.) c.1300, extended form of OFT (Cf. oft), originally before vowels and h , probably by influence of M.E. selden seldom. In common use from 16c., replacing oft …   Etymology dictionary

  • often — [adv] frequently again and again, a number of times, generally, many a time, much, oftentimes, ofttimes, over and over, recurrently, regularly, repeatedly, time after time, time and again, usually; concept 541 Ant. infrequently, rarely, seldom …   New thesaurus

  • often — [ôf′ən, äf′ən; ôf′tən, äf′tən] adv. [ME var. of OFT] many times; repeatedly; frequently adj. Archaic frequent …   English World dictionary

  • often — of|ten W1S1 [ˈɔfən, ˈɔftən US ˈo:f ] adv [Date: 1200 1300; Origin: oft] 1.) if something happens often, it happens regularly or many times = ↑frequently ▪ She often works at the weekend. ▪ If you wash your hair too often, it can get too dry. ▪… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • often — of|ten [ ɔfn ] adverb *** 1. ) on many occasions or in many situations: Often, students with family problems have difficulties at school. Boredom often leads to bad behavior. The home is often the most likely place in which someone is injured.… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English


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