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[th en] /ðɛn/
at that time:
Prices were lower then.
immediately or soon afterward:
The rain stopped and then started again.
next in order of time:
We ate, then we started home.
at the same time:
At first the water seemed blue, then gray.
next in order of place:
Standing beside Charlie is my uncle, then my cousin, then my brother.
in addition; besides; also:
I love my job, and then it pays so well.
in that case; as a consequence; in those circumstances:
If you're sick, then you should stay in bed.
since that is so; as it appears; therefore:
You have, then, found the mistake? You are leaving tonight then.
being; being such; existing or being at the time indicated:
the then prime minister.
that time:
We have not been back since then. Till then, farewell.
but then, but on the other hand:
I found their conversation very dull, but then I have different tastes.
then and there, at that precise time and place; at once; on the spot:
I started to pack my things right then and there.
Also, there and then.
Origin of then
before 900; Middle English then(ne), than(n)e, Old English thonne, thanne, thænne; cf. than; akin to that
Can be confused
than, then (see usage note at than)
8. See therefore. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for then
  • Set a cookie or biscuit cutter in a medium bowl, then set mold on top.
  • Repeat on remaining two sides, then staple all around the edges, pulling cloth tight.
  • There are fixer-uppers, and then there are complete wrecks.
  • Our staff photographer loads these pocket-size drives with pics from the year, then sends them to friends and family.
  • To keep predators out, the wire sides extend two feet below ground level, then out another two feet.
  • Dampen the mix before using it by pouring it into a clean bucket, then stirring in enough water to make it moist but not soggy.
  • Water regularly after planting, then cut back on watering as tree becomes established.
  • then they can start wagering in real time on which currencies are headed up or down.
  • She was a poet turned rocker, tapping and then redoubling the energy she found in basic three-chord songs.
  • We scrutinized the beach and watched oysters open, filtering the water, and then snapping shut on our approach.
British Dictionary definitions for then


at that time; over that period of time
(sentence modifier) in that case; that being so: then why don't you ask her?, if he comes, then you'll have to leave, go on then, take it
then and there, See there (sense 6)
sentence connector
after that; with that: then John left the room and didn't return
that time: before then, from then on
(prenominal) existing, functioning, etc, at that time: the then prime minister
Word Origin
Old English thenne; related to Old Saxon, Old High German thanna; see than
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
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Word Origin and History for then

adverb of time, from Old English þanne, þænne, þonne, from Proto-Germanic *thana- (cf. Old Frisian thenne, Old Saxon thanna, Dutch dan, Old High German danne, German dann), from PIE demonstrative pronoun root *to- (see the). For further sense development, see than. Similar evolutions in other Germanic languages; Dutch uses dan in both senses, but German has dann (adv.) "then," denn (conj.) "than." Now and then "at various times" is attested from 1550s; earlier then and then (c.1200).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with then
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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