soon [soon sooner soonest] BrE [suːn] NAmE [suːn] adverb (soon·er, soon·est)
1. in a short time from now; a short time after sth else has happened
• We'll be home soon./We'll soon be home.
• She sold the house soon after her husband died.
• I soon realized the mistake.
• It soon became clear that the programme was a failure.
• (informal) See you soon.
2. early; quickly
• How soon can you get here?
• We'll deliver the goods as soon as we can.
• Please send it as soon as possible.
• Next Monday is the soonest we can deliver.
• They arrived home sooner than expected.
• The sooner we set off, the sooner we will arrive.
• The note said, ‘Call Bill soonest’ (= as soon as possible).
• All too soon the party was over.
see also asap
more at anytime soon at any time, I, etc. would just as soon do sth at just adv., least said soonest mended at say v.
Idioms: I would sooner do something ▪ no sooner said than done ▪ no sooner … than … ▪ sooner or later ▪ sooner rather than later ▪ sooner the better
Old English sōna ‘immediately’, of West Germanic origin.
hardly / scarcely / barely / no sooner
Hardly, scarcely and barely can all be used to say that something is only just true or possible. They are used with words like any and anyone, with adjectives and verbs, and are often placed between can, could, have, be, etc. and the main part of the verb: ▪ They have sold scarcely any copies of the book. ◇ ▪ I barely recognized her. ◇ ▪ His words were barely audible. ◇ ▪ I can hardly believe it. ◇ I hardly can believe it.
Hardly, scarcely and barely are negative words and should not be used with not or other negatives: I can’t hardly believe it.
You can also use hardly, scarcely and barely to say that one thing happens immediately after another: ▪ We had hardly/scarcely/barely sat down at the table, when the phone rang. In formal, written English, especially in a literary style, these words can be placed at the beginning of the sentence and then the subject and verb are turned around: ▪ Hardly/Scarcely had we sat down at the table, when the phone rang. Note that you usually use when in these sentences, not than. You can also use before: ▪ I scarcely had time to ring the bell before the door opened. No sooner can be used in the same way, but is always used with than: ▪ No sooner had we sat down at the table than the phone rang.
Hardly and scarcely can be used to mean ‘almost never’, but barely is not used in this way: ▪ She hardly (ever) sees her parents these days. ◇ She barely sees her parents these days.
in the near future
- the doctor will soon be here
- the book will appear shortly
- she will arrive presently
- we should have news before long
Syn: shortly, presently, before long
Webster's 1913 Dictionary:
|adv.||1.||In a short time; shortly after any time specified or supposed; as, soon after sunrise.|
She finished, and the subtle fiend his lore
|2.||Without the usual delay; before any time supposed; early.|
How is it that ye are come so soon to-day?
|3.||Promptly; quickly; easily.|
Small lights are soon blown out, huge fires abide.
|4.||Readily; willingly; - in this sense used with would, or some other word expressing will.|
I would as soon see a river winding through woods or in meadows, as when it is tossed up in so many whimsical figures at Versailles.
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