Word Origin & History
O.E. æfre, no cognates in any other Gmc. language; perhaps a contraction of a in feore, lit. "ever in life" (the expression a to fore is common in O.E. writings). First element is almost certainly related to O.E. a "always, ever," from P.Gmc. *aiwo, from PIE *aiw- "vital force, life, long life,
O.E., on an "into one, straightway (in one course), at once" (see one
); by gradual misuse, "soon, in a little while" (1520s). A one-word etymological lesson in the enduring power of procrastination.