Once in different languages

Once in Different Languages

Discover 'Once' in 134 Languages: Dive into Translations, Hear Pronunciations, and Uncover Cultural Insights.

Updated on March 6, 2024

The word 'once' is a small but mighty term, carrying with it a sense of time, change, and possibility. Once can refer to a single occurrence in the past, or it can indicate a hypothetical situation in the future. It's a word that has captured the imagination of writers, poets, and thinkers for centuries, and has been translated into countless languages around the world.

In English, 'once' can convey a sense of wonder or excitement, as in the phrase 'once upon a time.' But its significance goes far beyond the realm of fairy tales. In many cultures, the concept of 'once' is deeply intertwined with notions of fate, destiny, and the passage of time. For example, in Spanish, 'once' is 'una vez,' and in French, it's 'une fois' - both of which carry the same sense of singularity and finality.

Understanding the translation of 'once' in different languages can offer valuable insights into the cultures and worldviews of people around the globe. Whether you're a language enthusiast, a cultural explorer, or simply curious about the world around you, exploring the many meanings of 'once' is a fascinating journey.


Once in Sub-Saharan African Languages

Afrikaanseen keer
"Een keer" in Afrikaans can mean a "single occasion" or an "occurrence".
Amharicአንድ ጊዜ
The word "አንድ ጊዜ" can also mean "sometime" or "once upon a time".
Hausasau daya
The word "sau daya" also denotes "at a time."
Igbootu ugboro
In some Igbo dialects, the word "otu ugboro" can also mean "one time" or "one instance."
Malagasy, indray mandeha
"Indray mandeha" in Malagasy literally means "one walk" and also conveys the meaning of "once".
Nyanja (Chichewa)kamodzi
The word "kamodzi" in Nyanja (Chichewa) also means "the first" and "the beginning"
In Shona, the word "kamwe" also means "in the first place" or "initially".
The word "mar" in Somali can also be used to mean "time" or "moment" in certain contexts.
The Sesotho word "hang" also means "to stay for a time or purpose".
Swahilimara moja
Mara moja can also mean 'someday' in Swahili.
In Xhosa, "Kanye" can also refer to a type of small or young goat.
The Yoruba word 'lẹẹkan' can also refer to 'an instance, occurrence, or time'.
In Zulu, 'kanye' can also mean 'one' or 'a certain' when used in different contexts.
Bambarasiɲɛ kelen
Ewezi ɖeka
Lingalambala moko
Twi (Akan)prɛko

Once in North African & Middle Eastern Languages

Arabicذات مرة
ذات مرة is the accusative case of "ذى مرة" (that time), which is itself the combination of the preposition "ذى" (which means "of" or "about") and "مرة" (which means "time").
פַּעַם relates to the concept of a single, discrete event and also to a unit of time, particularly a short or indefinite period.
The Pashto word یوځل (yojal) is also translated as "time" or "instance" in English, and is related to the Persian word يک جل (yek jol) meaning "at once".
Arabicذات مرة
ذات مرة is the accusative case of "ذى مرة" (that time), which is itself the combination of the preposition "ذى" (which means "of" or "about") and "مرة" (which means "time").

Once in Western European Languages

Albaniannjë herë
"Behin" is derived from the proto-Basque word "*behin(a)" which means "one time" or "once".
Catalanun cop
"Un cop" in Catalan can also mean "once upon a time" or "a while ago".
Jednom can also mean 'for a moment' or 'at one point', with 'nekoć' or 'jedanput' being more typical words for 'once'.
Danishenkelt gang
Enkelt gang, meaning 'once', is a corruption of the older Danish en gang, meaning 'one time'.
Dutcheen keer
"Eens" is een vervoeging van het werkwoord "zijn" in de aanvoegende wijs, en kan in sommige gevallen "misschien" of "eventueel" betekenen.
"Once" can mean "one time" or, in the context of a conditional clause, "if".
Frenchune fois que
"Une fois que" can also be an interjection expressing doubt; its verb-like usage (with "que") is archaic.
The Frisian word "ienris" is derived from Old Frisian "aneris" and is cognate with English "once" and German "einmal".
Galicianunha vez
In Galician, "unha vez" can also refer to an unspecified or approximate amount.
Einmal can also mean 'at some point' or 'in one go'
Icelandiceinu sinni
The words "einn sinn" literally mean "one time" in Icelandic, but have come to mean "once" in English.
Irishuair amháin
Italianuna volta
Una volta is Italian for "once" but is also used to refer to a "time" or "occasion."
The word "eemol" is derived from the Proto-West Germanic word "ainamāl", meaning "at once".
The word 'darba' is also used to mean a 'time' (as in 'a long time') but also in the context of a 'hit' ('daqqa' means 'hit'; 'żewġ daqqiet', 'two hits', can also imply 'twice').
Norwegianen gang
In Norwegian, the word "en gang" can also mean "every now and then" or "once in a while".
Portuguese (Portugal, Brazil)uma vez
In Brazil, "uma vez" can also mean "once upon a time".
Scots Gaelicaon uair
In traditional Gaelic, "aon uair" meant every three hours.
Spanishuna vez
The Spanish word "una vez" originated from the Latin phrase "ad unam vicem," meaning "for one turn"
Swedishen gång
In Scandinavian languages, "en gång" can also mean "once upon a time" or refer to "a time" in the past, but its meaning in Swedish is generally limited to the concept of singularity.
Welsh 'unwaith' also means 'once', possibly from 'yn waith' meaning 'in one time'.

Once in Eastern European Languages

Belarusianадзін раз
Belarusian "адзін раз" is a calque of Russian "один раз" and derives from the word for "one".
The word 'jednom' can also mean 'one time', 'some time', or 'at one time' in Bosnian.
The Bulgarian word "веднъж" is related to the word "вече" ("already") and shares a common etymology with the word "всегда" ("always") in Russian.
The word "jednou" in Czech also means "one day" or "at some point in the future".
Estonianüks kord
The Estonian word "üks kord" can also mean "one time", "once upon a time", or "sometimes" in English.
Finnishyhden kerran
"Yhden kerran" can also mean "of one piece".
"Egyszer" also refers to the mathematical constant "e", in which case the word derives from Latin, not the Hungarian numeral.
Latvian word “vienreiz” has different meanings: one by one, only once, and once in a lifetime.
In Polish and Czech, the cognate word means 'punishment.
The word "еднаш" comes from Proto-Slavic "jednъ", meaning "one" or "once", and is related to the words "единица" (unit) and "едно" (one).
Polishpewnego razu
Pewnego razu' is one of the many ways to say 'once' in Polish, but it is a bit more emphatic and is often used in fairytales or fables.
Romaniano singura data
"O singură dată" can also mean "at some point" or "for a certain period of time" in Romanian.
Russianодин раз
The word "один раз" literally translates to "one time" in English
The word "једном" in Serbian can also mean "occasionally" or "sometime".
The word "raz" comes from Proto-Slavic "ordь," meaning "turn" or "time."
In addition to its primary meaning of "once," "enkrat" can also mean "immediately," "suddenly," or "right away."
Ukrainianодин раз
The Ukrainian word 'один раз' ('once') may also mean 'one time' or 'at the same time'.

Once in South Asian Languages

একদা'র অর্থ শুধু 'অতীতে একবার' নয়, এটি 'কিছুকালের জন্য' অর্থেও ব্যবহৃত হয়।
The Gujarati word "એકવાર" can also mean "at some point" or "on one occasion" in English.
Hindiएक बार
In addition to meaning "once," "एक बार" (ek baar) also means "at once" and "for a moment" in Hindi.
ಒಮ್ಮೆ means 'once,' 'sometimes,' or 'previously.'
The word "ഒരിക്കല്" (once) in Malayalam also means "sometime" or "at some point of time".
Marathi word "एकदा" derives from Sanskrit "एकदत" which also means "one-time"}
Nepaliएक पटक
"एक पटक" is derived from Sanskrit and also means "one time" or "once upon a time."
Punjabiਇਕ ਵਾਰ
Sinhala (Sinhalese)වරක්
The Sinhala word "වරක්" has other meanings such as "at one time" and "in a while".
Tamilஒரு முறை
In Tamil, "ஒரு முறை" can also refer to "one way" or "one direction."
ఒకసారి (okasari) literally means 'one time', but can also be used to mean 'once upon a time' or 'a long time ago'.
Urduایک بار
ایک بار can also mean one-time, at first, or just one.

Once in East Asian Languages

Chinese (Simplified)一旦
一旦 is composed of two Chinese characters: 一 (yī) meaning "one" and 但 (dàn) meaning "however, but". It was originally used to emphasize suddenness or unexpectedness.
Chinese (Traditional)一旦
Traditionally written as 一旦 in Classical Chinese, '一旦' implies the meaning of 'all of a sudden'.
一度 can also mean "once in a lifetime" or "never again."
"한번" can mean once, one time, one opportunity, one occasion, one trial, one round, one instance, one portion, one dose, one unit, one time, one instance, one instance, one time, etc.
Mongolianнэг удаа
The Mongolian word "нэг удаа" can also mean "for the first time" or "on one occasion".
Myanmar (Burmese)တခါ
တခါ (taga) can also be used in Myanmar (Burmese) to denote "each other" or "each time".

Once in South East Asian Languages

The word "sekali" in Indonesian can also mean "immediately" or "at the same time"
The Javanese word "sapisan" can also mean "alone"
The word “ម្តង” can also mean “once” in the context of a past occurrence or a habitual event.
"ຄັ້ງດຽວ" also means only once, just once, just for once, one time, the only one time, the first time ever, the last time ever, only this one time
"Sekali" means "once", but can also mean "again" or "at once" when used with "lagi".
The word "ครั้งเดียว" in Thai literally means "one time" but it can also be used to refer to an event or instance.
Vietnamesemột lần
Một lần can also mean "any time" or "every time"
Filipino (Tagalog)minsan

Once in Central Asian Languages

Azerbaijanibir dəfə
The word "bir dəfə" in Azerbaijani is cognate with "bir" and "dəfə" in Turkish, meaning "one" and "time", respectively.
Kazakhбір рет
The Kazakh word "бір рет" (once) has alternate meanings of "once in a blue moon" and "rarely."
Kyrgyzбир жолу
The term "бир жолу" also refers to an instance, a single occasion, or a specific event.
Tajikяк бор
Yak bor is also used to mean "once upon a time" in Tajik.
Turkmenbir gezek
Uzbekbir marta
The word "bir marta" in Uzbek also means "a long time ago".
Uyghurبىر قېتىم

Once in Pacific Languages

Pākahi can also mean 'alone', 'single', 'solitary', or 'just once'.
In Maori myths, Kotahi was the original name for the island we call Aotearoa-New Zealand.
The Samoan word "faʻatasi" has many additional meanings, including "suddenly", "at once", and "just".
Tagalog (Filipino)sabay

Once in American Indigenous Languages

Aymaramaya kuti
Guaranipeteĩ jey

Once in International Languages

In Esperanto, "unufoje" literally means "one time," but it is also used idiomatically to mean "sometime" or "at some point."
The word "iterum" is also used in the sense of "again" or "a second time".

Once in Others Languages

Greekμια φορά
The Greek phrase "μια φορά" can also mean "once upon a time" or "a long time ago".
Hmongib zaug
'Ib zaug' can also mean 'one time' or 'on one occasion' in Hmong, highlighting its versatile usage beyond just expressing the concept of 'once'.
In Kurdish, "carek" (pronounced ja-rek) carries both the primary meaning of "one time" and a less-common secondary meaning of "at all"
Turkishbir zamanlar
The word "bir Zamanlar" ("once") literally translates to "there was once" in Turkish, implying that it is a narrative about an event that has since come and gone.
In Xhosa, "Kanye" can also refer to a type of small or young goat.
The Yiddish word "אַמאָל" can also mean "once, once upon a time, in the past, at one time, formerly."
In Zulu, 'kanye' can also mean 'one' or 'a certain' when used in different contexts.
Aymaramaya kuti
Bhojpuriएक बार
Dogriइक बारी
Filipino (Tagalog)minsan
Guaranipeteĩ jey
Kriowan tɛm
Kurdish (Sorani)کاتێک
Maithiliएक बेर
Meiteilon (Manipuri)ꯑꯃꯨꯛꯈꯛ
Oromoal tokko
Odia (Oriya)ଥରେ |
Quechuahuk kutilla
Tatarбер тапкыр

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