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one / wən/ • cardinal number the lowest cardinal number; half of two; 1: there's only room for one person two could live as cheaply as one one hundred miles World War One a one-bedroom apartment. (Roman numeral: i, I) ∎  a single person or thing, viewed as taking the place of a group: they would straggle home in ones and twos. ∎  single; just one as opposed to any more or to none at all (used for emphasis): her one concern is to save her daughter. ∎  denoting a particular item of a pair or number of items: electronics is one of his hobbies he put one hand over her shoulder and one around her waist a glass tube closed at one end. ∎  denoting a particular but unspecified occasion or period: one afternoon in late October. ∎  used before a name to denote a person who is not familiar or has not been previously mentioned; a certain: he worked as a clerk for one Mr. Ming. ∎ inf. a noteworthy example of (used for emphasis): the actor was one smart-mouthed troublemaker he was one hell of a snappy dresser. ∎  identical; the same: all types of training meet one common standard. ∎  identical and united; forming a unity: the two things are one and the same. ∎  one year old. ∎  one o'clock: it's half past one I'll be there at one. ∎ inf. a one-dollar bill. ∎ inf. an alcoholic drink: a cool one after a day on the water. ∎ inf. a joke or story: the one about the chicken farmer and the spaceship. ∎  a size of garment or other merchandise denoted by one. ∎  a domino or dice with one spot. • pron. 1. referring to a person or thing previously mentioned: her mood changed from one of moroseness to one of joy her best apron, the white one. ∎  used as the object of a verb or preposition to refer to any example of a noun previously mentioned or easily identified: they had to buy their own copies rather than waiting to borrow one do you want one? 2. a person of a specified kind: you're the one who ruined her life Eleanor was never one to be trifled with my friends and loved ones. ∎  a person who is remarkable or extraordinary in some way: you never saw such a one for figures. 3. [third person sing.] used to refer to any person as representing people in general: one must admire him for his willingness. ∎  referring to the speaker as representing people in general: one gets the impression that he is ahead. PHRASES: at one in agreement or harmony: they were completely at one with their environment. for one used to stress that the person named holds the specified view, even if no one else does: I for one am getting a little sick of writing about it. one after another (or the other) following one another in quick succession: one after another the buses drew up. one and all everyone: well done one and all! one and only unique; single (used for emphasis or as a designation of a celebrity): the title of his one and only book the one and only Muhammad Ali. one by one separately and in succession; singly. one day at a particular but unspecified time in the past or future: one day a boy started teasing Grady he would one day be a great president. one-for-one denoting or referring to a situation or arrangement in which one thing corresponds to or is exchanged for another: donations would be matched on a one-for-one basis with public revenues. one of a kind see kind1 . one-on-one (or one-to-one) denoting or referring to a situation in which two parties come into direct contact, opposition, or correspondence: maybe we should talk to them one-on-one. one or another (or the other) denoting or referring to a particular but unspecified one out of a set of items: not all instances fall neatly into one or another of these categories. one or two inf. a few: there are one or two signs worth watching for. one thing and another inf. used to cover various unspecified matters, events, or tasks: what with one thing and another she hadn't had much sleep recently.

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one

one one for sorrow; two for mirth; three for a wedding, four for a birth proverbial saying, mid 19th century, referring to the number of magpies seen at the same time.
one for the mouse, one for the crow, one to rot, one to grow proverbial saying, mid 19th century, traditionally used when sowing seed, and enumerating the ways in which some of the crop will be lost leaving a proportion to germinate.
one nail drives out another proverbial saying, mid 13th century, meaning like will counter like (compare fight fire with fire). The same idea is found in ancient Greek in Aristotle's Politics, ‘one nail knocks out another, according to the proverb.’
One Nation a nation not divided by social inequality; in Britain in the 1990s, especially regarded as the objective of a branch of or movement within the Conservative Party, seen as originating in the paternalistic form of Toryism advocated by Benjamin Disraeli.

In 1950 a group of Conservative MPs, then in opposition, published under the title One Nation a pamphlet asserting their view of the necessity of greater commitment by their party to the social services; these ideas had great influence when the party returned to government in the following year.

In the 1990s, One Nation returned to prominence in the debate between the right and left wings of the Conservative Party on the effect of the Thatcherite policies of the 1980s.
one size does not fit all an assertion of individual requirements; the saying is recorded from the early 17th century. Earlier versions of it exist, and are based on the metaphor of different size shoes for different feet, e.g. from J. Bridges Defence of the Government of the Church of England (1587), ‘Diverse feet have diverse lastes. The shooe that will serve one, may wring another.’
the one that got away traditional angler's description of a large fish that just eluded capture, from the comment ‘you should have seen the one that got away.’
one year's seeding makes seven years' weeding proverbial saying, late 19th century; the allusion is to the danger of allowing weeds to grow and seed themselves.
when one door shuts, another opens proverbial saying, late 16th century, meaning that as one possible course of action is closed off, another opportunity offers.

See also one Englishman can beat three Frenchmen, one law for the rich, one of our aircraft is missing, one step at a time, one swallow does not make a summer, one wedding brings another, one white foot, buy him.

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one

one OE. ān = OS. ēn (Du. een), (O)HG. ein, ON. einn, Goth. ains :- Gmc. *ainaz :- IE. *oinos, whence also OL. oinos, L. ūnus, OSl. inŭ other, Lith víenas, OIr. óen, óin; in other langs. with other suffixes, as Skr. éka- one, Gr. oî(f)os alone.

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one

onebegun, bun, done, Donne, dun, fine-spun, forerun, fun, gun, Gunn, hon, Hun, none, nun, one, one-to-one, outdone, outgun, outrun, pun, run, shun, son, spun, stun, sun, ton, tonne, tun, underdone, Verdun, won •honeybun • handgun • flashgun •air gun • sixgun • popgun • shotgun •blowgun, shogun •speargun • scattergun • homespun •endrun • sheep run • grandson •stepson • godson • kiloton • megaton •anyone • everyone • someone

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