Derived from the first letters of army and navy.


AN (uncountable)

(military, US) A set of sizes for screw threads agreed upon and jointly used by the United States Army and Navy.


• N.A., N/A, NA, n.a., n/a, na

Etymology 1



Form of a (all article senses).

Used before a vowel sound.

(now quite rare) Used before /h/ in an unstressed syllable.

(nonstandard) Used before /h/ in a stressed syllable.

(obsolete) Used before one and words with initial u, eu.

(nonstandard, British, West Country) Used before all consonants.

Usage notes

• In standard English, the article an is used before vowel sounds, while a is used before consonant sounds. Alternatively, an can be found before an unstressed syllable beginning with an h-sound, as in an historic. The h may then become silent or is at least very weakly articulated. This usage is favoured by only 6% of British speakers, and is only slightly more common in writing.

• Historically, an could also be found before one and many words with initial u, eu (now pronounced with initial /juː/, /jʊ/, /jə/), such as eunuch, unique, or utility. This is as these words formerly started with a vowel sound, though the writing of an before words spelt with initial u, eu continued up into the 19th century, long after these words had acquired initial consonant sounds in standard English.

• In the other direction, a can rarely be found before a vowel in nonstandard (often dialectal) speech and written representations thereof, as in "ain't this a innerestin sitchation" (Moira Young, Blood Red Road).

• The various article senses of a are all senses of an.



(nonstandard, British, West Country) one

Etymology 2



(archaic) If

(archaic) So long as.

(archaic) As if; as though.

Etymology 3


an (plural ans)

The first letter of the Georgian alphabet, ა (Mkhedruli), Ⴀ (Asomtavruli) or ⴀ (Nuskhuri).

Etymology 4



In each; to or for each; per.

Usage notes

• This is the same as the word a in such contexts, modified because of preceding an unpronounced h. The train was speeding along at a mile a minute.


• per


• N.A., N/A, NA, n.a., n/a, na

Proper noun


Alternative form of Anu


• N.A., N/A, NA, n.a., n/a, na

Source: Wiktionary


Word of the Day

1 October 2023


(adjective) able to adjust readily to different conditions; “an adaptable person”; “a flexible personality”; “an elastic clause in a contract”

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