Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • prep. Up to the time of: We danced until dawn.
  • prep. Before (a specified time): She can't leave until Friday.
  • prep. Scots Unto; to.
  • conj. Up to the time that: We walked until it got dark.
  • conj. Before: You cannot leave until your work is finished.
  • conj. To the point or extent that: I talked until I was hoarse. See Usage Note at till2.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • prep. Up to the time of (something happening).
  • prep. Before (a time).
  • conj. Up to the time that (a condition becomes true).
  • conj. Before (a condition becoming true).

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • conj. As far as; to the place or degree that; especially, up to the time that; till. See till, conj.
  • prep. To; unto; towards; -- used of material objects.
  • prep. To; up to; till; before; -- used of time.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To; unto: of place.
  • To; unto; up to: of time.
  • Up to the time that; till the point or degree that: preceding a clause.

Etymologies

Middle English : un-, up to (from Old Norse und; see ant- in Indo-European roots) + til, till; see till2.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old Norse und ("as far as, up to") and til ("until, up to") (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • O ye who believe! approach not prayer while ye are drunk, until ye well know what ye say; nor yet while polluted, —unless ye be passing by the way, —until ye have washed yourselves.

    Medina Suras. The Chapter of Women.

  • But until he does that, —until he gives a better or more plausible reason than he has offered against the evidence in the case, —I suggest to him it will not avail him at all that he swells himself up, takes on dignity, and calls people liars.

    Fourth Joint Debate at Charleston. Mr. Lincoln's Rejoinder

  • Baby wrath is as free and economical of physical force as are the winsome moods, and this until the personality has developed to some extent, -- that is, _until the child reflects the contractions of those around him.

    Power Through Repose

  • "And when you said just now that you could stand here alone, seeing and hearing, _until -- until_ -- and then stopped, perhaps you wished to say that you could remain here until you understood it all, and knew the meaning of that mysterious pain in your heart?"

    Fan : the story of a young girl's life

  • It had always, until of late, been held the first duty of Parliament _to refuse to support Government_, _until power was in the hands of persons who were acceptable to the people_, _or while factions predominated in the Court in which the nation had no confidence_.

    Thoughts on the Present Discontents, and Speeches, etc.

  • We thought we’d stack the crowns inside until — until  —  ”

    Spotted Hemlock

  • And, last of all, why, if this forgery was so important to him, did John Bumpus forget all about it until he stood on this table; ay, _until the rope was round his neck_? "

    Gascoyne, the Sandal-Wood Trader

  • _ [ 'Hear! hear!' and cheers] And, last of all why, if this forgery was so important to him, did John Bumpus forget all about it until he stood on this table; aye, _until the rope was round his neck? _ "

    Gascoyne, The Sandal-Wood Trader A Tale of the Pacific

  • Berlusconi, facing four separate trials over prostitution and tax fraud charges, has rejected calls to step down, repeating on Friday that he would serve out his term until 2013.

    Reuters: Top News

  • Curb Records sought to prevent the 44-year-old McGraw from recording or signing with another label until he fulfilled what Curb believed was his obligation for a fifth album.

    Breaking News: CBS News

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