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At a time vs At one time

at a time

1. simultaneously:

  • We present items, three at a time, and ask informants to pick the one that is most different from the other two.

2. is used of a particular period of time:

  • She grew up in the capital at a time when its artistic life was at its most brilliant.

Note: The expression does not correlate in meaning with the phrase at times—now and then:

  • Our work is cut out for us, even though it can be heartbreaking at times.

at one time

1. = at a time 1:

  • Let’s start the dance again, all at one time.

2. at some time in the past:

  • At one time most school teachers were men.