See also: NOW and nów


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  • IPA(key): /naʊ/
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  • Rhymes: -aʊ

Etymology 1

From Middle English now, nou, nu, from Old English (now, at present, at this time, immediately, very recently), from Proto-Germanic *nu (now), from Proto-Indo-European *nū (now). Cognate with Scots noo (now), Saterland Frisian nu (now), West Frisian no (now), Dutch nu, nou (now), German nu, nun (now), Norwegian Bokmål (now), Norwegian Nynorsk no (now), Swedish and Danish nu (now), Icelandic (now), Latin num (even now, whether), Latin nunc (now), Albanian ni (now), Lithuanian (now), Avestan 𐬥𐬏(, now), Sanskrit नु (nu, now).


now (not comparable)

  1. Present; current.
    • 17th C, Joseph Glanvill, Scepsis Scientifica: Or, Confest Ignorance, the Way to Science; in an Essay of the Vanity of Dogmatizing and Confident Opinion, 1885, page 207,
      Defects seem as necessary to our now happiness as their Opposites.
    • 1855, Conrad Swackhamer, The United States democratic review, Volume 5,
      The history of the infant colonies teaches us that the country comprised within the limits of the now United States of America was originally patented in the reign of James I., of England, into two portions: that in less than eighty years from that period, the same was again divided into twelve distinct provinces; a thirteenth being after added in the creation of the State of Georgia.
    • 1908, The English reports,
      Where in assumpsit for money lent, the defendant pleaded that in an action in which the now defendant was plaintiff, and the now plaintiff was defendant, [] .
    • 2010 March 17, The Telegraph, news website, Radio 4 apologises for day old shipping forecast,
      Radio 4's continuity announcer said at the end of the show: "As many of you will have noticed, that edition of The Now Show wasn't very now. It was actually last week's programme. Our apologies for that."
  2. (archaic, law) At the time the will is written. Used in order to prevent any inheritance from being transferred to a person of a future marriage. Does not indicate the existence of a previous marriage.
    Now wife.
  3. (informal) Fashionable; popular; up to date; current.
    I think this band's sound is very now.
    • 2000, “Dead Parrot”, in Black Books, season 1, episode 1:
      Bernard: What does it do? / Fran: It's very in. / Bernard: You don't know what it is, do you? / Fran: It's very now.
See also


now (not comparable)

  1. At the present time.
    Now I am six.
    • (Can we date this quote by Arbuthnot and provide title, author’s full name, and other details?)
      I have a patient now living, at an advanced age, who discharged blood from his lungs thirty years ago.
  2. (sentence) Used to introduce a point, a remonstration or a rebuke.
    Now, we all want what is best for our children.   Now stop that, Jimmy!
    • 1898, Winston Churchill, chapter 3, in The Celebrity:
      Now all this was very fine, but not at all in keeping with the Celebrity's character as I had come to conceive it. The idea that adulation ever cloyed on him was ludicrous in itself. In fact I thought the whole story fishy, and came very near to saying so.
  3. Differently from the immediate past; differently from a more remote past or a possible future; differently from all other times.
    Now I am ready.   We all now want the latest toys for our children.   We all want what is now best for our children.
    • 1898, Winston Churchill, chapter 5, in The Celebrity:
      Although the Celebrity was almost impervious to sarcasm, he was now beginning to exhibit visible signs of uneasiness, the consciousness dawning upon him that his eccentricity was not receiving the ovation it merited.
  4. Differently from the situation before a stated event or change of circumstance.
    Now all the children have grown up and left, the house is very quiet.   Now that my sister has gotten rid of their cat, we can go to her house this coming Thanksgiving.
    • 2013 July 20, “The attack of the MOOCs”, in The Economist, volume 408, number 8845:
      Dotcom mania was slow in coming to higher education, but now it has the venerable industry firmly in its grip. Since the launch early last year of Udacity and Coursera, two Silicon Valley start-ups offering free education through MOOCs, massive open online courses, the ivory towers of academia have been shaken to their foundations.
  5. At the time reached within a narration.
    Now, he remembered why he had come.   He now asked her whether she had made pudding.   The pudding was now ready to be served.
  6. In the context of urgency.
    Now listen, we must do something about this.
  7. (obsolete) As 'but now': Very recently; not long ago; up to the present.
    • (Can we date this quote by Waller and provide title, author’s full name, and other details?)
      They that but now, for honour and for plate, / Made the sea blush with blood, resign their hate.
Derived terms
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.



  1. Since, because, in light of the fact; often with that.
    We can play football now that the rain has stopped.
    Now that you mention it, I am kind of hungry.
    Now that we're all here, let's start the meeting. = Let's start the meeting now that everyone's here.



  1. Indicates a signal to begin.
    Now! Fire all we've got while the enemy is in reach!


now (usually uncountable, plural nows)

  1. (uncountable) The present time.
    Now is the right time.
    There is no better time than now.
    1. (often with "the") The state of not paying attention to the future or the past.
      She is living in the now.
    2. (countable, chiefly in phenomenology) A particular instant in time, as perceived at that instant.
      • (Can we date this quote by Emily Dickinson and provide title, author’s full name, and other details?)
        Forever is composed of nows.
      • 1982, Albert Hofstadter, The Basic Problems of Phenomenology, translation of original by Martin Heidegger, page 249:
        Time is not thrust together and summed up out of nows, but the reverse: with reference to the now we can articulate the stretching out of time always only in specific ways.
Derived terms


  • now at OneLook Dictionary Search

Etymology 2

See know.



  1. Misspelling of know.
    I don't now. (intended: I don't know.)