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Collins Cobuild Advanced Learner’s English Dictionary
  • Collins COBUILD Advanced Learner’s English Dictionary offers learners of English detailed coverage of today’s language. Written in simple, natural English, this dictionary is exceptionally easy to use and understand. The examples, which have all been taken from the Bank of English®, part of the prestigious Collins Word Web, are invaluable in providing context for words and phrases. The user will also have quick and easy access to grammatical information and additional information on synonyms, pragmatics and frequency. Collins COBUILD Advanced Learner’s English Dictionary - the complete reference tool for learners of English. Bank of English® is a registered trademark of HarperCollins Publishers Ltd.




  1. NUM One is the number 1.

  2. ADJ: det ADJ (emphasis) If you say that someone or something is the one person or thing of a particular kind, you are emphasizing that they are the only person or thing of that kind.

  3. DET: DET sing-n (emphasis) One can be used instead of `a' to emphasize the following noun.

  4. DET: DET adj sing-n (emphasis) You can use one instead of `a' to emphasize the following adjective or expression. [INFORMAL]

  5. DET: DET n-proper You can use one in front of someone's name to indicate that you have not met them or heard of them before. [FORMAL]

  6. DET: DET sing-n You can use one to refer to the first of two or more things that you are comparing.

    ADJ: det ADJ

    • One is also an adjective. We ask why peace should have an apparent chance in the one territory and not the other.


    • One is also a pronoun. The twins were dressed differently and one was thinner than the other.
  7. PRON You can use one or ones instead of a noun when it is clear what type of thing or person you are referring to and you are describing them or giving more information about them.

  8. PRON You use ones to refer to people in general.

  9. PRON: PRON of n, PRON that You can use one instead of a noun group when you have just mentioned something and you want to describe it or give more information about it.

  10. DET: DET sing-n You can use one when you have been talking or writing about a group of people or things and you want to say something about a particular member of the group.


    • One is also a pronoun. Some of them couldn't eat a thing. One couldn't even drink.
  11. QUANT: QUANT of adj-superl You use one in expressions such as `one of the biggest airports' or `one of the most experienced players' to indicate that something or someone is bigger or more experienced than most other things or people of the same kind.

  12. DET: DET sing-n You can use one when referring to a time in the past or in the future. For example, if you say that you did something one day, you mean that you did it on a day in the past.

    one day see day

  13. PRON: with supp You can use one to refer to a question, joke, remark, or subject of discussion.

  14. PRON You can use one to refer to an alcoholic drink. [INFORMAL]

  15. PRON You use one to make statements about people in general which also apply to themselves. One can be used as the subject or object of a sentence. [FORMAL]

  16. PHRASE: PHR after v If a group of people does something as one, all the people do the same thing at the same time or in the same way. [WRITTEN]

  17. PHRASE: oft with brd-neg, v-link PHR n/-ing If you say that someone is one for or is a one for something, you mean that they like or approve of it or enjoy doing it.

  18. PHRASE: PHR before v (emphasis) You can use for one to emphasize that a particular person is definitely reacting or behaving in a particular way, even if other people are not.

  19. PHRASE: usu PHR pl-n (emphasis) You can use expressions such as a hundred and one, a thousand and one, and a million and one to emphasize that you are talking about a large number of things or people.

  20. PHRASE: pl-n PHR, PHR after v You can use in one to indicate that something is a single unit, but is made up of several different parts or has several different functions.

  21. PHRASE: PHR with cl You can use in ones and twos to indicate that people do things or something happens gradually and in small groups.

  22. PHRASE: PHR with cl You use one after the other or one after another to say that actions or events happen with very little time between them.

  23. PHRASE: PHR n-proper The one and only can be used in front of the name of an actor, singer, or other famous person when they are being introduced on a show.

  24. PHRASE: PHR with cl You can use one by one to indicate that people do things or that things happen in sequence, not all at the same time.

  25. PHRASE: usu PHR of pl-n You use one or other to refer to one or more things or people in a group, when it does not matter which particular one or ones are thought of or chosen.

  26. PHRASE: oft PHR pl-n, PHR of pl-n One or two means a few.

  27. PHRASE: PHR to-inf, usu v-link PHR If you say that someone is not one to do something, you think that it is very unlikely that they would do it because it is not their normal behaviour.

  28. PHRASE: PHR n, usu v-link PHR, PHR after v If you try to get one up on someone, you try to gain an advantage over them.

  29. one and all see all

    one another see another

    one thing after another see another

    to pull a fast one see fast

    of one mind see mind

    in one piece see piece

    put one over on see put

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wʌ̱nNUM One is the number 1.Examples

They had three sons and one daughter.
...one thousand years ago...
Scotland beat England one-nil at Wembley.
...one of the children killed in the crash.

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Word forms


Common caseoneones
Possessive caseone'sones'


pronoun, singular, 3rd person, personal
Common caseone
Possessive caseone's