From Middle English sumtymes, somtymes, som tymes, equivalent to sometime + -s (adverbial suffix). Compare West Frisian somstiden (“sometimes”), Dutch somtijds, somwijlen (“sometimes”).
sometimes (not comparable)
- On certain occasions, or in certain circumstances, but not always. [from 16th c.]
- Synonyms: at one time or another, at times, every so often, from time to time, occasionally, once in a while; see also Thesaurus:occasionally
- Sometimes I sit and think, but mostly I just sit.
- a. 1667, Jeremy Taylor, “Agenda; or, Things to Be Done”, in The Whole Works of the Right Rev. Jeremy Taylor, D.D., volume III, London: Frederick Westley and A. H. Davis, published 1836, page 730:
- It is good that we sometimes be contradicted, and ill though of, and that we always bear it well, even when we deserve to be well spoken of : perfect peace and security cannot be had in this world.
- 1897 December (indicated as 1898), Winston Churchill, chapter V, in The Celebrity: An Episode, New York, N.Y.: The Macmillan Company; London: Macmillan & Co., Ltd., →OCLC:
- We made an odd party before the arrival of the Ten, particularly when the Celebrity dropped in for lunch or dinner. He could not be induced to remain permanently at Mohair because Miss Trevor was at Asquith, but he appropriated a Hempstead cart from the Mohair stables and made the trip sometimes twice in a day.
- 2013 June 8, “Obama goes troll-hunting”, in The Economist, volume 407, number 8839, page 55:
- The solitary, lumbering trolls of Scandinavian mythology would sometimes be turned to stone by exposure to sunlight. Barack Obama is hoping that several measures announced on June 4th will have a similarly paralysing effect on their modern incarnation, the patent troll.
- (obsolete) On a certain occasion in the past; once. [16th–17th c.]
- Synonyms: at one time, in the past, yestertide; see also Thesaurus:formerly
- c. 1599–1602 (date written), William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of Hamlet, Prince of Denmarke”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies […] (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act I, scene i], lines 46–49, page 152, column 2:
- What art thou that vſurp’ſt this time of night, / Together with that Faire and Warlike forme / In which the Maieſty of buried Denmarke / Did ſometimes march : By Heauen I charge thee ſpeake.
- 1611, The Holy Bible, […] (King James Version), London: […] Robert Barker, […], →OCLC, Ephesians 5:8:
- For yee were sometimes darkenesse, but now are yee light in the Lord: walke as children of light […]
- 1624, Democritus Junior [pseudonym; Robert Burton], “Remedies against diſcontents”, in The Anatomy of Melancholy: […], 2nd edition, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Printed by John Lichfield and James Short, for Henry Cripps, →OCLC, partition 2, section 3, member 7, page 351:
- They detract, ſcoffe and raile ſaith one, & barke at mee on every ſide, but I, like that Albanian dog ſometimes given to Alexander for a preſent, vindico me ab illis ſolo contemptu, I ly ſtill and ſleep, vindicate my ſelfe by contempt alone.
on certain occasions, but not always
sometimes (not comparable)
- (obsolete) Former; sometime.
- 1595 December 9 (first known performance), William Shakespeare, “The life and death of King Richard the Second”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act I, scene ii], lines 54–55:
- Farewell old Gaunt, thy ſometimes brothers wife / With her companion Greefe, muſt end her life.