"already", as Webster correctly nodes below, means "prior to some specified time".

So, you Americans, why do you insist on using it to mean "immediately" or "then"?


"Get your ass out of here already!"

"Yeah, well all that's nice, but how do you play it already?"

Stop it at once (or should I say already) and desist from abusing this wonderful language you have inherited.

The usage of the word already as a semi-phatic particle in the sense gratuitously slagged off (and misinterpreted) by e-troon above (where BE would probably use "then", with a similar non-implication of "subsequently") stems largely from the influence of German and Yiddish schon and Italian già which both share this usage and the temporal meaning ("your prescriptive ideas about linguistic usage have already been discarded").

However, more to the point, language use is a moving target, and words mean what people use them to mean. The evidence of a dictionary nearly a century old says little about the meaning(s) of a word today, or changes in their geographical distribution.

Al*read"y (#), adv. [All (OE. al) + ready.]

Prior to some specified time, either past, present, or future; by this time; previously.

"Joseph was in Egypt already."

Exod. i. 5.

I say unto you, that Elias is come already. Matt. xvii. 12.

⇒ It has reference to past time, but may be used for a future past; as, when you shall arrive, the business will be already completed, or will have been already completed.


© Webster 1913.

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