at */*/*/

strong UK [æt] / US weak UK [ət] / US preposition
1) used for stating where someone or something is
a) in a particular place

There's a telephone box at the crossroads.

I'll meet you at the main entrance.

She's staying at the Clarence Hotel.

We live at 23 Brookfield Avenue.

at someone's (= at their house):

I'm babysitting at Sally's tomorrow night.

at home:

He wants to spend more time at home with his family.

at work (= in the place where someone works):

Dad should be at work by now.

at the doctor's/dentist's/hairdresser's etc:

Trevor's at the doctor's – he'll be back soon.

b) used for saying where you stop on a journey

Does this train stop at Newport?

The ship called in at Bombay and Singapore.

c) sitting or standing close to something, especially in order to do something

Lambert was seated at the piano.

She was standing at the window, staring out across the garden.

d) in a particular part of a process, activity, programme, or book

At some point in the process things started to go wrong.

2) used for stating what someone is doing
a) used for saying that someone is doing something or taking part in an activity somewhere
at a party/concert/meeting etc:

We were at a party last night when you called.

at school/college etc (= studying at an educational institution):

Has Karen graduated, or is she still at college?

b) used for stating what state or situation someone or something is in
at rest/war/peace etc:

The country was at war and life was difficult for everyone.

3) used for stating when something happens
a) used for stating the exact time when something happens

The match starts at 3 o'clock.

There's a train at 11.42.

b) used for saying when a particular situation exists
at present/at the moment (= now):

Everyone's busy with exams at present.

I can't give you any more information at the moment.

at the time (= when something happened in the past):

Monica was born in 1972. We were living in Edinburgh at the time.

at the beginning/start/end of something:

It's a style that was popular at the beginning of the 20th century.

c) during a particular period

What are you doing at the weekend?

My wife's parents came to stay with us at Christmas.

at night (= during any night):

At night temperatures sometimes fall to 30 degrees below zero.

d) when someone is a particular age

Mozart was already composing music at the age of five.

4) used for stating what someone reacts to used for stating what makes someone react in a particular way

Audiences still laugh at his jokes.

She was annoyed at being disturbed in the middle of the night.

5) used for showing prices, temperatures, speeds etc used for showing the level of prices, temperatures, speeds etc

Tickets are now on sale at £12 each.

His Ferrari crashed at 120 miles an hour.

The plastic pipes will melt at high temperatures.

6) in a particular direction used for stating the direction in which you look, point, or aim something

Armed gangs were shooting at police cars.

Why are you staring at me like that?

7) trying to hold or hit someone or something used for stating what someone is trying to catch, hold, or hit

He grabbed at my sleeve, but I pulled away.

She struggled, hitting out at her attackers.

8) continuing to do something used for showing that you repeat an action many times with small movements but without doing it completely

I muttered to myself, sipping at my coffee.

Stop picking at the scab, or it won't heal.

9) used for stating what someone can do well used for stating the activity or subject that someone is skilful or not skilful in

Brownstein is an expert at cooking.

good/bad at something:

I've never been very good at sports.

10) American used for giving phone numbers used for stating the phone number where someone can be reached. The British word is on

You can reach us at 555–3964.

at someone's/something's best/worst/strongest etc — used for saying that someone or something shows their best/worst etc qualities in a particular event or situation

This is an example of old-fashioned prejudice at its worst.

At his most forceful, Cockburn can be a very persuasive speaker.

at lunch/dinner/breakfast etc — used for saying that someone is having a meal

I'm sorry, the person you want is at lunch.

What were we talking about at breakfast?

at someone's request/suggestion/invitation etc — because someone has asked you to do something/suggested something etc

A meeting was arranged at the ambassador's request.

At my suggestion, Mrs Carey wrote to her former employer.


English dictionary. 2014.

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