at - definition and synonyms

preposition strong

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  1. 1
    used for stating where someone or something is
    1. a.
      in a particular place

      There’s a telephone box at the crossroads.

      I’ll meet you at the main entrance.

      She’s staying at the Clarence Hotel.

      We live at 23 Brookfield Avenue.

      at someone’s (=at their house):

      I’m babysitting at Sally’s tomorrow night.

      at home:

      He wants to spend more time at home with his family.

      at work (=in the place where someone works):

      Dad should be at work by now.

      at the doctor’s/dentist’s/hairdresser’s etc:

      Trevor’s at the doctor’s – he’ll be back soon.

       Synonyms and related words
    2. b.
      used for saying where you stop on a journey

      Does this train stop at Newport?

      The ship called in at Bombay and Singapore.

       Synonyms and related words
    3. c.
      sitting or standing close to something, especially in order to do something

      Lambert was seated at the piano.

      She was standing at the window, staring out across the garden.

    4. d.
      in a particular part of a process, activity, programme, or book

      At some point in the process things started to go wrong.

       Synonyms and related words
  2. 2
    used for stating what someone is doing
    1. a.
      used for saying that someone is doing something or taking part in an activity somewhere
      at a party/concert/meeting etc:

      We were at a party last night when you called.

      at school/college etc (=studying at an educational institution):

      Has Karen graduated, or is she still at college?

       Synonyms and related words
    2. b.
      used for stating what state or situation someone or something is in
      at rest/war/peace etc:

      The country was at war and life was difficult for everyone.

       Synonyms and related words
  3. 3
    used for stating when something happens
    1. a.
      used for stating the exact time when something happens

      The match starts at 3 o’clock.

      There’s a train at 11.42.

    2. b.
      used for saying when a particular situation exists
      at present/at the moment (=now):

      Everyone’s busy with exams at present.

      I can’t give you any more information at the moment.

      at the time (=when something happened in the past):

      Monica was born in 1972. We were living in Edinburgh at the time.

      at the beginning/start/end of something:

      It’s a style that was popular at the beginning of the 20th century.

    3. c.
      during a particular period

      What are you doing at the weekend?

      My wife’s parents came to stay with us at Christmas.

      at night (=during any night):

      At night temperatures sometimes fall to 30 degrees below zero.

    4. d.
      when someone is a particular age

      Mozart was already composing music at the age of five.

  4. 4
    used for stating what makes someone react in a particular way

    Audiences still laugh at his jokes.

    She was annoyed at being disturbed in the middle of the night.

     Synonyms and related words
  5. 5
    used for showing the level of prices, temperatures, speeds etc

    Tickets are now on sale at £12 each.

    His Ferrari crashed at 120 miles an hour.

     Synonyms and related words
  6. 7
    used for stating what someone is trying to catch, hold, or hit

    He grabbed at my sleeve, but I pulled away.

    She struggled, hitting out at her attackers.

     Synonyms and related words
  7. 8
    used for showing that you repeat an action many times with small movements but without doing it completely

    Stop picking at the scab, or it won’t heal.

     Synonyms and related words
  8. 9
    used for stating the activity or subject that someone is skilful or not skilful in

    Brownstein is an expert at cooking.

    good/bad at something:

    I’ve never been very good at sports.

     Synonyms and related words
  9. 10
    American used for stating the phone number where someone can be reached. The British word is on

    You can reach us at 555–3964.