Try Our Apps


Gobble up these 8 terms for eating


[nons] /nɒns/
the present, or immediate, occasion or purpose (usually used in the phrase for the nonce).
Origin of nonce
1150-1200; Middle English nones, in phrase for the nones, by faulty division of for then ones for the once (Middle English then dative singular of the1; ones once) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for nonce
Historical Examples
  • The "nonce" said that you caught him up in a line he had misquoted.'

    Gerald Fitzgerald Charles James Lever
British Dictionary definitions for nonce


the present time or occasion (now only in the phrase for the nonce)
Word Origin
C12: from the phrase for the nonce, a mistaken division of for then anes, literally: for the once, from then dative singular of the + anesonce


(prison slang) a rapist or child molester; a sexual offender
Word Origin
C20: of unknown origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for nonce

abstracted from phrase for þe naness (c.1200) "for a special occasion, for a particular purpose," itself a misdivision (see N for other examples) of for þan anes "for the one," in reference to a particular occasion or purpose, the þan being from Middle English dative definite article þam (see the). The phrase used from early 14c. as an empty filler in metrical composition. As an adjective from 1884.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Word Value for nonce

Scrabble Words With Friends