Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

now - definition and synonyms

What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.

Thesaurus diagram

The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

adverb, conjunction     now pronunciation in American English
Now is used in the following ways:
as an adverb: We’d better leave now to get there on time.Now, what should we do next?
as a conjunctionwith “that”: Now that I’m married, I don’t go out in the evenings so much.
  1. 1
    at the present time

    He is now 48 years old.

    She’s been very sick, but she’s much better now.

    by/before now:

    The meeting should have finished by now.

    I’ve never been to a formal dinner party before now, and I’m not quite sure how to behave.

    from now on (=starting from the present time):

    Nancy will be working full-time from now on.

    as of now:

    The rule will take effect as of now.

    for now (=from now until some future time):

    Prices will remain unchanged for now.

    Goodbye for now.

    up to now/until now:

    Until now, we’ve had very mild weather this winter.

    right now:

    Right now I’m not interested in dating – I need to spend some time alone.

    not now:

    “Can I ask you a question?” “Not now – I’m busy.”

    now is the time/moment:

    Now is the time to look forward, make plans for the future, and work together.

  2. 2
    immediately, or very soon

    If everyone else is finished in the bathroom, I’ll take my shower now.

    right now:

    “Can you call me back?” “No, I need to talk to you right now.”

  3. 3
    used for saying how long it is since something happened or started

    It’s been three years now since I moved to Colorado.

    The farm workers have been there for about two weeks now.

  4. 4
    as a result of something
    1. a.
      used when you are saying that something happens as a result of something else

      Having inherited the money, she knew that things would now be much better.

      now (that):

      Now that the war is over, there is a lot more food in the stores.

    2. b.
      used when you are saying that you understand something as a result of what you have been told or what has happened

      Now I see why she didn’t want to go with me – she was interested in George.

  5. 5
    used in stories to mean at a particular time in the story

    We ran down the road and past the house, which was now hidden in the darkness.

  6. 6
    spoken used for giving emphasis to a request, order, or comment

    Now come on, tell me what’s been happening.

    Don’t forget now – call me tomorrow.

    Now that’s what I like about Harry – he’s always cheerful.

  7. 7
    used for getting someone’s attention or introducing information spoken
    1. a.
      used when you want to get people’s attention or to show that you are going to talk about something new

      Now, about next week’s program – we’ve had to make a few changes.

      now then:

      Now then, are there any more questions?

    2. b.
      used for introducing information that you think someone needs to know in order to understand the story that you are telling

      He was 20 when he moved to the city. Now, you have to remember that was 30 years ago.

  8. 8
    spoken used when you pause before deciding what to say next

    Now, let me think.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter


a lifestyle focussing on simple pleasures such as comfort and cosiness in the home, and spending time with friends and family

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary


a form of location that involves the underwater detonation of a bomb which causes sound waves that are picked up by ships

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog
Macmillan learn live love play