It is such a nice little word. The dictionary definition explains that until works as both a preposition and a conjunction. Both basically look to time: before, continuance to a specific time, and up to a certain point or time. Simple. Nuetral. But this dictionary definition does nothing to capture the magic of this little word.
Until captures the mood, the feeling of any situation with which it is associated. It helps accentuate the connotation being implied. Consider these examples: A young boy has gotten into trouble and hears from his mother, “Just wait until your father gets home!” The dread, the anticipation, the worry take over as the time ticks away. Now, same boy, but he is waiting for a dad returning from military, a dad bringing home his favorite dinner—pizza!—or waiting to head out on vacation. Now, there is hope, anticipation, excitement. The situation provokes the emotion, but it comes forward because of the great little word until and a fairly quick resolution of the wait-time involved.
Sometimes the mood is merely persistence or endurance, putting in the time, especially when there is not a quick resolution in sight. Consider these phrases: until you grow up, until you’re older (not quite the same as maturity!), until you get a job, until there is enough money, until you understand or make a commitment. Extending this sense of time to suggest that things will never change or will rather always stay the same is another job for the word until. This feel is captured by phrases such as until the cows come home, until I die, until the end of time. The best phrase of all showing this ongoing sense of time is, “I will love you until the twelfth of never.”
Do you have a favorite until phrase?
BTW: I will keep working on my A-Z Topics until I have completed them. Fortunately, I have until my birthday to really be done. Until then, I will keep moving on! Besides, I would never finish until I figured out a Topic U. Wonder where my topic idea came from?!
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“I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.” Mother Teresa
“An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.” Martin Luther King, Jr.
“A woman is like a tea bag. You never know how strong she is until she is in hot water.” Eleanor Roosevelt
“We can never obtain peace in the outer world until we make peace with ourselves.” Dalai Lama
“A person with a new idea is a crank until the idea succeeds.” Mark Twain
“The brain is a wonderful organ; it starts working the moment you get up in the morning and does not stop until you get into the office.” Robert Frost
“I believe in everything until it’s disproved. So I believe in fairies, the myths, dragons. It all exists, even if it’s in your mind. Who’s to say that dreams and nightmares aren’t as real as the here and now?” John Lennon
“It always seems impossible until it’s done.” Nelson Mandela
“Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.” Theodore Roosevelt
“War will exist until that distant day when the conscientious objector enjoys the same reputation and prestige that the warrior does today.” John F. Kennedy
“I love a Hebrew National hot dog with an ice-cold Corona—no lime. If the phone rings, I won’t answer until I’m done.” Maya Angelou
“Some people die at 25 and aren’t buried until 75.” Benjamin Franklin
“Until justice is bling to color, until education is unaware of race, until opportunity is unconcerned with the color of men’s skins, emancipation will be a proclamation but not a fact.” Lyndon B. Johnson
“Make sure you never, never argue at night. You just lose a good night’s sleep, and you can’t settle anything until morning anyway.” Rose Kennedy
“We don’t believe in rheumatism and true love until after the first attack.” Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach
“You can’t be truly rude until you understand good manners.” Rita Mae Brown
“An optimist stays up until midnight to see the new year in. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves.” Bill Vaughn
“The truth is, no one of us can be free until everybody is free.” Maya Angelou