—oftenness, n./aw"feuhn, of"euhn; awf"teuhn, of"-/, adv.1. many times; frequently: He visits his parents as often as he can.2. in many cases.adj.3. Archaic. frequent.[1300-50; ME oftin, var. before vowels of ofte OFT]Syn. 1, 2. repeatedly, customarily. OFTEN, FREQUENTLY, GENERALLY, USUALLY refer to experiences that are customary. OFTEN and FREQUENTLY may be used interchangeably in most cases, but OFTEN implies numerous repetitions and, sometimes, regularity of recurrence: We often go there; FREQUENTLY suggests esp. repetition at comparatively short intervals: It happens frequently.GENERALLY refers to place and means universally: It is generally understood. He is generally liked; but it is often used as a colloquial substitute for USUALLY. In this sense, GENERALLY, like USUALLY, refers to time, and means in numerous instances. GENERALLY, however, extends in range from the merely numerous to a majority of possible instances; whereas USUALLY means practically always: The train is generally on time. We usually have hot summers.Ant. 1, 2. seldom.Pronunciation. OFTEN was pronounced with a t-sound until the 17th century, when a pronunciation without the /t/ came to predominate in the speech of the educated, in both North America and Great Britain, and the earlier pronunciation fell into disfavor. Common use of a spelling pronunciation has since restored the /t/ for many speakers, and today /aw"feuhn/ and /awf"teuhn/ [or /of"euhn/ and /of"teuhn/] exist side by side. Although it is still sometimes criticized, OFTEN with a /t/ is now so widely heard from educated speakers that it has become fully standard once again.
* * *