Definition for AT

AT, prep. [Sax. æt; Goth. at; L. ad. At, ad, and to, if not radically the same word, often coincide in signification. In W. at is to, and in Danish, it is the sign of the infinitive mode; in Amh. od, or ud, is toward. The word at is doubtless the Oriental אתא, אתה, Ch. and Heb. to come, to approach. Hence it primarily denotes presence, meeting, nearness, direction toward.]

In general, at denotes nearness or presence; as, at the ninth hour, at the house; but it is less definite than in or on; at the house, may be in or near the house. It denotes also toward, versus; as, to aim an arrow at a mark. From this original import are derived all the various uses of at. At the sight, is with, present, or coming the sight; at this news, present the news, or with the approach or arrival of this news. At peace, at war, in a state of peace or war, peace or war existing, being present; at ease, at play, at a loss, &c. convey the like idea. At arms, furnished with arms, bearing arms, present with arms; at hand, within reach of the hand, and therefore near; at my cost, with my cost; at his suit, by or with his suit; at this declaration, he rose from his seat, that is, present, or coming this declaration; whence results the idea in consequence of it. At his command, is either under his command, that is, literally, coming or being come his command, in the power of, or in consequence of it. He is good at engraving, at husbandry; that is, in performing that business. He deserves well at our hands, that is, from us. The peculiar phrases in which this word occurs, with appropriate significations, are numerous. At first, at last, at least, at best, at the worst, at the highest or lowest, are phrases in which some noun is implied; as, at the first time or beginning; at the last time, or point of time; at the least or best degree, &c.; all denoting an extreme point or superlative degree. At all, is in any manner or degree. At is sometimes used for to, or toward, noting progression or direction; as, he aims at perfection; he makes or runs at him, or points at him. In this phrase, he longs to be at him, at has its general sense of approaching, or present, or with, in contest or attack.

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