Already Definition and Meaning: What Does Already Mean?

  • Already Definition

al·read·y  (ôl-rd)


1. By this or a specified time: The children were already asleep when we got home.

2. So soon: Are you quitting already?

3. Informal Used as an intensive: Be quiet already. Enough already.

[1350–1400; Middle English al redy literally, “all ready”]

Usage: The written forms already and all ready have distinct uses and meanings. already means “previously” (The plane had already landed) or “so soon” (It's December already). The phrase all ready means “entirely ready, prepared”: I was all ready to leave for church.

Already Meaning

adverb before now, before, previously, at present, by now, by then, even now, by this time, just now, by that time, heretofore, as of now They've spent nearly a billion dollars on it already.

already [ɔːlˈrɛdɪ]


1. by or before a stated or implied time: he is already here

2. at a time earlier than expected: is it ten o'clock already?

al•read•y (ɔlˈrɛd i)


1. previously; prior to or at some specified or implied time.

2. so soon; so early.

3. Informal. (used as an intensifier to express exasperation or impatience): Let's go already!

already (oːlˈredi) adverb

1. before a particular time; previously. I had already gone when Tom arrived; I don't want that book – I've read it already.

2. before the expected time. Are you leaving already?; He hasn't gone already, has he?

Definition of ALREADY

1. prior to a specified or implied past, present, or future time; by this time; previously <he had already left when I called>

2. used as an intensive <all right already> <enough already>

Examples of ALREADY

  1. They've already agreed to come.

  2. I'd already left by the time you called.

  3. He acted as if he didn't already know.

  4. Flight 102 will already have taken off by the time Flight 101 lands.

  5. Have they arrived already?! I'm still not dressed!

  6. Do you have to go already?

Origin of ALREADY

Middle English al redy, from al redy, adjective, wholly ready, from al all + redy ready

First Known Use

14th century

Related to ALREADY

  • Synonyms

afore [chiefly dialect], ahead, antecedently, anteriorly, before, beforehand, earlier, formerly, preliminarily, previously

  • Antonyms

after, afterward (or afterwards), later

  • Related Words

a priori, early, prematurely; first, first off, now; before long, erelong [archaic], presently, shortly, soon

  • Near Antonyms

behind, by and by, next, subsequently

Rhymes with ALREADY

go steady, makeready, unsteady

What Does Already Mean?

Used for saying that something has happened before now or before another point in time

He's only 24, but he's already achieved worldwide fame.

The gang leader had already left the country.

Put your wallet away. I've already paid for everything.

Usage note of ALREADY

  • already / just / yet / Already and yet are usually used with the present perfect tense, but in North American English they can also be used with the simple past tense: I already did it. Did you eat yet? However, this is much more common in spoken than in written English and some Americans do not consider it acceptable, even in speech. The present perfect is more common in North American English and almost always used in British English: I’ve already done it. Have you eaten yet? Just is mostly used with the perfect tenses in British English and with the simple past in North American English: I’ve just had some bad news. (British English) I just got some bad news. (North American English)



    equivalent to "I already know" or "You already know," as if to say "YES!" emphatically. Demonstrates total agreement with what a speaker has said. Speaker: Did you know that chastity is so fine!

    Response: Already!

    Speaker: Man, your boy has skills!

    Response: Already!


  • Submitter Syntax first recalls the term used in Texas in the late 1990s, and reports that it's typically pronounced with a drawn out and emphasized opening, e.g. "aaaawwwwll-ready!" This may be due to Southern United States "drawl."
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