Language: Old English
Origin: nu


1 adverb
now1 S1 W1
1 at the present time:
They now live in the city centre.
There's nothing I can do about this right now (=exactly now).
by now
Sonia should have been home by now. Do you think she's OK?
up to now/until now
Until now, doctors have been able to do very little to treat this disease.
Please try to be more careful from now on (=starting from now).
for now (=for a short time)
Just leave your shoes on the back porch for now.
just now especially British English (=at the present time)
There are a lot of bargains in the shops just now.
2 immediately:
The bell has rung - stop writing now.
If we leave now we'll be there before dark.
3 used when you know or understand something because of something you have just seen, just been told etc:
Having met the rest of the family, she now saw where he got his temper from.

3 weeks/2 years etc now

used to say how long ago something started:
They've been going out together for a long time now.
It's been over five years now since I started working here.
It's now a month since we bought the car and it's broken down three times already.

(every) now and then/now and again

I hear from him every now and then.
6 spoken
a) used when getting someone's attention before continuing what you are saying or changing the subject:
Now, let's move on to the question of payment.
b) used at the beginning of a sentence when asking for information:
Now what did you say your name was?
c) used when pausing when you are thinking what to say next:
Now, let's see, oh yes - they wanted to know what time you'll be back on Friday.
d) used to say that if the situation was different, something different would happen:
Now if I'd been in charge there's no way I'd have let them use the van.
e) used to make someone calm or comfort them when they are angry, upset etc:
Come on now, don't cry.
f) used when telling or reminding someone to do something:
Now hurry up! I haven't got all day.
Don't forget now, you have a dental appointment Thursday afternoon.
7 spoken

any day/minute etc now

very soon:
The guests will arrive any minute now.
8 spoken

just now

a moment ago:
Was that you singing just now?
9 spoken

now then

used to get someone's attention before telling them to do something or asking them a question:
Now then, what seems to be the problem here?
Now then, try to sit up and have some of this soup.
10 spoken

well now

used when giving an opinion or asking someone to tell you something:
Well now, what's all this I hear about you getting married?
11 spoken

now for something

used when saying what you are going to do next:
Thanks, Norma, and now for a look at tomorrow's weather.
12 spoken

and now

used when introducing the next activity, performer etc:
And now, live from New York, it's David Letterman!
13 spoken

now now

a) used to make someone calm or comfort them when they are angry, upset etc:
Now now, don't worry. Everything will be okay.
b) especially British English used when telling someone not to behave badly:
Now now, leave your sister alone.
14 spoken

not now

used to tell someone that you do not want to talk to them or do something now, because you are busy, tired etc:
'Tell me a story.' 'Not now, Daddy's working.'
15 spoken

now what?

used when an attempt to do something has failed and you do not know what to do next:
Kate tried each of the keys, but none of them fit. 'Now what?' she thought.
16 spoken

now you're talking

used to tell someone that you agree very much with what they are saying:
'Feel like going out for a beer?' 'Now you're talking.'
17 spoken

it's now or never

used to say that if someone does not do something now, they will not get another chance to do it:
Quite suddenly, her mind was made up. It was now or never.
18 spoken

now's the time (for somebody) to do something

used to say that someone should do something now, because it is the right time to do it:
Now's the time to buy a car, while the interest rates are low.
19 spoken

what is it now?/now what?

used when you are annoyed because someone keeps interrupting you or asking you things:
'Mom, can you come here for a minute?' 'What is it now?'
20 spoken

now you tell me!

used when you are annoyed or amused because someone has just told you something they should have told you before:
'You didn't need to make anything for dinner - Dad's bringing home pizza.' 'Oh, now you tell me!'

literary used to say that at one moment someone or something does one thing and immediately after, they do something else:
The eagle glided through the sky, now rising, now falling.

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