conjunction \ˈbət\

—used to introduce a statement that adds something to a previous statement and usually contrasts with it in some way

: other than

—used in speech at the beginning of a sentence that expresses surprise, shock, etc.

Full Definition of BUT

a :  except for the fact <would have protested but that he was afraid>
b :  that —used after a negative <there is no doubt but he won>
c :  without the concomitant that <it never rains but it pours>
d :  if not :  unless
e :  than <no sooner started but it stopped> —not often in formal use
a :  on the contrary :  on the other hand :  notwithstanding —used to connect coordinate elements <he was called but he did not answer> <not peace but a sword>
b :  yet <poor but proud>
c :  with the exception of —used before a word often taken to be the subject of a clause <none but the brave deserves the fair — John Dryden>
but that
:  that —used after a negative <there is no doubt but that it must be done>
but what
:  that … not —used to indicate possibility or uncertainty <I don't know but what I will go>

Examples of BUT

  1. We had no choice but to leave.
  2. They've done nothing but argue all afternoon.

Origin of BUT

Middle English, from Old English būtan, preposition & conjunction, outside, without, except, except that; akin to Old High German būzan without, except; akin to Old English be by, ūt out — more at by, out
First Known Use: before 12th century

Related to BUT

except, only, saving, yet

Rhymes with BUT



: other than (something or someone)

Full Definition of BUT

a :  with the exception of :  barring <no one there but me> — compare 1but 2c
b :  other than <this letter is nothing but an insult>
a :  without, lacking
b :  outside

Examples of BUT

  1. There was no one there but him.
  2. I didn't tell anyone but my sister.
  3. Who but you would think that?

First Known Use of BUT

before 12th century



Definition of BUT

:  only, merely <he is but a child>
Scottish :  outside
:  to the contrary <who knows but that she may succeed>
—used as an intensive <get there but fast>

Examples of BUT

  1. They have but two weeks to get ready.
  2. <she is but a child and too young to understand such things>

First Known Use of BUT

12th century

Related to BUT



Definition of BUT

:  that not :  who not <nobody but has his fault — Shakespeare>

First Known Use of BUT




: a reason someone gives for not doing or agreeing with something

Full Definition of BUT

:  the kitchen or living quarters of a 2-room cottage

Origin of BUT

Scots but, adjective (outer)
First Known Use: 1724


Next Word in the Dictionary: buta–buta
Previous Word in the Dictionary: busywork
All Words Near: but

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