Webster 1913 Edition
æt; akin to OHG.
az, Goth., OS., & Icel.
åt, Dan. & L.
Primarily, this word expresses the relations of presence, nearness in place or time, or direction toward;It expresses: -
as,It is less definite than in or on;
atthe ninth hour;
atthe house; to aim
atthe house may be in or near the house. From this original import are derived all the various uses of
A relation of proximity to, or of presence in or on, something;
atsea and on land.
The relation of some state or condition;
The relation of some employment or action; occupied with;
atmeat (eating); except
The relation of a point or position in a series, or of degree, rate, or value;
as, with the thermometer
at80°; goods sold
ata cheap price; a country estimated
at10,000 square miles; life is short
The relations of time, age, or order;
The relations of source, occasion, reason, consequence, or effect;
atthis news; merry
athis command; to demand, require, receive, deserve, endure
Relation of direction toward an object or end;
atit; to point
atone; to aim
ata mark; to throw, strike, shoot, wink, mock, laugh
At once, etc.
busily or actively engaged.–
At one, in the Vocabulary.
When reference to the interior of any place is made prominent in is used. It is used before the names of countries and cities (esp. large cities); as, we live in America, in New York, in the South. At is commonly employed before names of houses, institutions, villages, and small places; as, Milton was educated at Christ's College; money taken in at the Customhouse; I saw him at the jeweler's; we live at Beachville. At may be used before the name of a city when it is regarded as a mere point of locality. “An English king was crowned at Paris.”
Macaulay.“Jean Jacques Rousseau was born at Geneva, June, 28, 1712.”
J. Morley.In regard to time, we say at the hour, on the day, in the year; as, at 9 o'clock, on the morning of July 5th, in the year 1775.
Webster 1828 Edition
AT, prep. [L. ad. At, ad and to, if not radically the same word often coincide in signification; Heb to come, to a approach. Hence it primarily denotes presence, meeting, nearness, direction towards.]
In general, at denotes nearness, or presents; 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 towards, 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, on or with the approach or arrival of this news. At peace, at war, in a state of peace or war, peace or 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 towards, 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.