Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

Language: Old English
Origin: thonne, thænne

then

1 adverb
     
then1 S1 W1
1 at a particular time in the past or future:
I wish I had known then what I know now.
It was then that I realised she'd tricked me.
He started his career in St Petersburg - or Leningrad as it then was.
by/until/since then
They're sending out the results next week, so we won't know anything until then.
It was late evening when the doctor arrived, and by then it was too late.
That was in 1970. Since then the place has changed a lot.
They met in 1942 and from then on (=starting at that time) they were firm friends.
Silently she closed the door. Just then she heard a noise.
I was paid £1000, which was a lot of money back then (=a long time ago when things were different) in the 1950s.
2 used to say what happens next or what you do next:
Mix the flour and butter, then add the eggs.
Byron travelled to Italy and then to Greece.
3
a) used when saying what the result of a situation or action will be:
If you won't tell him, then I will.
Start off early, then you won't have to rush.
b) spoken used when you think that something is probably true because of what you know about the situation:
Still in your pyjamas? Have you just got out of bed then?
4

but then (again)

used to say that although something is true, something else is also true which makes the first thing seem less important:
William didn't succeed first time, but then very few people do.
Elaine's father might lend them the money, but then again he might not.
5 spokenXX
a) used at the beginning of a conversation or activity:
Now then, what would you like to do today?
Right then, shall we start?
b) used at the end of a conversation, especially to show that something has been agreed:
Good, that's settled then. We'll all meet here next Wednesday.
Okay then, I'll see you at work.
c) used to show that you are saying something because of what someone has just said:
'We're late.' 'We'd better hurry, then.'
'Friday's no good.' 'Then how about Saturday?'
6 used to add something to what you have just mentioned:
We have to invite your parents and my parents, and then there's your brother.
7 used to refer back to what you have just been talking about:
This then was the situation facing the government at the end of the war.
8

then and there

also there and then immediately:
He wasn't prepared to wait - he wanted the money then and there.

➔ (every) now and then

at now1 (5)

Dictionary pictures of the day
Do you know what each of these is called?
What is the word for picture 1? What is the word for picture 2? What is the word for picture 3? What is the word for picture 4?
Click on any of the pictures above to find out what it is called.

Explore our topic dictionary