sooner or later


adverb, sooner, soonest.
within a short period after this or that time, event, etc.: We shall know soon after he calls.
before long; in the near future; at an early date: Let's leave soon.
promptly or quickly: He came as soon as he could.
readily or willingly: I would as soon walk as ride.
early in a period of time; before the time specified is much advanced: soon at night; soon in the evening.
Obsolete. immediately; at once; forthwith.
sooner or later, eventually: Sooner or later his luck will run out.
would sooner, to prefer to: I would sooner not go to their party. Compare rather ( def 8 ).

before 900; Middle English; Old English sōna; cognate with Old High German sān, Gothic suns

currently, immediately, momentarily, now, presently, soon (see synonym study at immediately)(see usage note at presently). Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
soon (suːn)
1.  in or after a short time; in a little while; before long: the doctor will soon be here
2.  as soon as at the very moment that: she burst into tears as soon as she saw him
3.  as soon…as used to indicate that the second alternative mentioned is not preferable to the first: I'd just as soon go by train as drive
[Old English sōna; related to Old High German sāno, Gothic suns]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

O.E. sona "at once, immediately," from W.Gmc. *sæno (cf. O.Fris. son, O.S. sana, O.H.G. san, Goth. suns "soon"). Sense shifted early M.E. to "within a short time" through human nature (cf. anon). Amer.Eng. Sooner for "Oklahoma native" is 1930, from the fact that in 1889 many settlers of the territory
snuck onto public land and staked their claims "sooner" than the legal date and time.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

sooner or later

Eventually, at some unspecified future time, as in Sooner or later we'll have to answer that letter, or It's bound to stop raining sooner or later. This term, which generally implies that some future event is certain to happen, was first recorded in 1577.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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