- At that time: I was still in school then. Come at noon; I'll be ready then.
- Next in time, space, or order; immediately afterward: watched the late movie and then went to bed.
- In addition; moreover; besides: It costs $20, and then there's the sales tax to pay.
- Used after but to qualify or balance a preceding statement: The star was nervous, but then who isn't on the first night of a new play.
- In that case; accordingly: If traffic is heavy, then allow extra time.
- As a consequence; therefore: The case, then, is closed.
Usage Problem And after that: I showered, then combed my hair.
That time or moment: The bus leaves at four; until then let's walk.
Being so at that time: the then chairman of the board.
Origin of then
Middle English from
Old English thenne
; see to-
in Indo-European roots.
Usage Note: Sticklers for grammar sometimes assert that then is not a coordinating conjunction, and that the sentence She took a slice of pie, then left is thus incorrect; it must be rewritten as She took a slice of pie and then left, in which the then acts as an adverb and the halves of the compound predicate are linked by the coordinating conjunction and. But this use of then as a coordinating conjunction is actually both widespread and widely accepted; in our 2012 survey, more than three quarters of the Usage Panel found the sentence She took a slice of pie, then left completely acceptable. Note, though, that the punctuation of this conjunctive use of then differs from the usual punctuation for similar sentences using and. No comma is needed when and links the parts of a compound predicate, as in She took a slice of pie and left. When then joins the halves of the predicate, a comma is usually required; only 8 percent of the Panel approved of She took a slice of pie then left.
- (temporal location) At that time.
- He was happy then.
- (temporal location) Soon afterward.
- He fixed it, then left.
- Turn left, then right, then right again, then keep going until you reach the service station.
- (sequence) Next in order; in addition.
- There are three green ones, then a blue one.
- (conjunctive) In that case.
- If it's locked, then we'll need the key.
- Is it 12 o'clock already? Then it's time for me to leave.
- You don't like potatoes? What do you want me to cook, then?
- (sequence) At the same time; on the other hand.
- That's a nice shirt, but then, so is the other one.
- (UK, dialect, affirmation) Used to contradict an assertion.
- being so at that time
- That time
- It will be finished before then.
- Obsolete spelling of than.
From Middle English then(ne), than(ne), from Old English Ã¾onne, Ã¾anne, Ã¾Ã¦nne (“then, at that time"), from Proto-Germanic *Ã¾an-, *Ã¾ana- (“at that (time), then"), from Proto-Indo-European *to- (“demonstrative pronoun"). Cognate with Dutch dan (“then"), German dann (“then"), Icelandic Ã¾Ã¡ (“then"). Related to than.