English edit

Etymology edit

From Middle English alredy, alredi, equivalent to al- +‎ ready. Compare Dutch alreeds (already), Afrikaans alreeds (already), Middle Low German alreide, alreids (already), Danish allerede (already), Swedish allaredan (already), Norwegian Nynorsk allereie (already). More at all, ready.

The use as an intensifier in American English is a semantic loan from German schon and Yiddishשוין(shoyn).

In Singapore English, the use of already as a marker of action completion or change of state is analogous to Min Nan (liáu) and Mandarin (le).

Pronunciation edit

Adverb edit

already (not comparable)

  1. Prior to some specified time, either past, present, or future; by this time; previously.
    I was surprised that she hadn’t already told me the news.
    Much of what he said I knew already.
  2. So soon.
    Are you quitting already?
  3. (US) An intensifier used to emphasize impatience or express exasperation.
    I wish they'd finish already, so we can get going.
    Be quiet already!
    • 1988 June 24, Liz Smith, Toledo Blade[1], Toledo, Ohio, page P-5:
      Enough already with the lack of glamour!
  4. (Singapore, Singlish) Marks the perfective aspect (action completion) or inchoative aspect (beginning of a new state).
    Synonym: (Singlish) liao
    Win already.We have won.
    Melt already.It has started to melt / It has melted.
    They don’t want already.They don’t want it any more.
    • 1999, Alfian Sa'at, Corridor, Singapore: SNP Editions, →OCLC, page 136:
      “Yah, I sign already,” my mother replied.
    • 2006, Elangovan, Smegma, →ISBN, page 39:
      Cannot wait already, buay tahan already. I hope she doesn’t complain to anyone.

Usage notes edit

  • Already may be used with the present perfect (I have already done that), the past perfect (I had already done it by then), the future perfect (When you arrive, the business will already have been completed) or the simple future (When you arrive, the business will already be complete).
  • "Already" and "all ready" do not mean the same thing. The two-word term can be used to mean "fully prepared."

Derived terms edit

Descendants edit

  • Gulf Arabic: ⁧أوردي(orridi)

Translations edit

See also edit

References edit

  • Bao, Zhiming (1995), “Already in Singapore English”, in World Englishes[2], volume 14, issue 2

Anagrams edit