but for


Examples of but for in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The holidays usually involve mingling and exchanging gifts, but for a lot of people, that also means traveling is in order. Alyssa Grabinski, Peoplemag, 24 Nov. 2023 Jennifer Lawrence is not only known for her acting prowess, but for her light-hearted sense of humor. Alex Kessler, Vogue, 21 Nov. 2023 This is a problem not just for Barbados and countries like it, but for the world. Stephanie Hanes, The Christian Science Monitor, 21 Nov. 2023 There’s always some songs that are really personal — but for all intents and purposes, those aren’t the songs that have stood the test of time. Simon Vozick-Levinson, Rolling Stone, 9 Nov. 2023 Wildfires are still a concern, but for the first time in three years, no part of California is in a drought. Chris Morris, Fortune, 9 Nov. 2023 Making this happen is a task not just for economists but for writers, filmmakers, artists, scientists and lawyers. Chirag Dhara, Scientific American, 8 Nov. 2023 Traditional carry-ons are great, but for me, this backpack is a much better option. Nick Guy, wsj.com, 18 Oct. 2023 Each death is a daub of paint on a vast canvas, but for the bereaved, each opens up a gaping chasm of grief. Laura King, Los Angeles Times, 17 Oct. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'but for.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

12th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of but for was in the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near but for

Cite this Entry

“But for.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/but%20for. Accessed 4 Dec. 2023.

Legal Definition


: of or relating to the necessary cause (as a negligent act) without which a particular result (as damage) would not have occurred
a but-for test of causation
compare substantial factor
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!