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someone can only do something - definition and synonyms


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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.



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  1. 1
    used for showing that only one action is possible in a particular situation, even if it is really not the best or most suitable one

    I can only express absolute disgust that any public official would act in such a dishonest way.

    As a waiter earning £150 a week, he can only dream about buying a home of his own.

  2. 2
    used for saying that you can only think of one explanation for something

    I can only assume that an error was made when the report was being typed.

    We can only suppose that there has been political pressure on him to make this decision.

See also main entry: only
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a description of an economic or political situation based on analysis of information at the present time

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an unregulated form of capitalism that features financial deregulation, privatisation and low tax for high earners

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