1

but

conjunction \ ˈbət \

Definition of but

1 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
2 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 in a Sentence

  1. We had no choice but to leave.

  2. They've done nothing but argue all afternoon.

Recent Examples of but from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'but.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology 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

but Synonyms

Synonyms
except, only, saving, yet

2

but

preposition

Definition of but

1 a :with the exception of :barring
  • no one there but me
— compare 1but 2c
b :other than
  • this letter is nothing but an insult
2 Scotland
b :outside

Examples of but in a Sentence

  1. There was no one there but him.

  2. I didn't tell anyone but my sister.

  3. Who but you would think that?

Recent Examples of but from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'but.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of but

see 1but


3

but

adverb

Definition of but

1 :only, merely
  • he is but a child
2 Scotland :outside
3 :to the contrary
  • who knows but that she may succeed
4 used as an intensive
  • get there but fast

Examples of but in a Sentence

  1. They have but two weeks to get ready.

  2. she is but a child and too young to understand such things

Recent Examples of but from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'but.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of but

see 1but

but Synonyms

Synonyms
just, merely, only, purely, simply

4

but

pronoun

Definition of but

:that not :who not
  • nobody but has his fault
  • —William Shakespeare

Origin and Etymology of but

see 1but


5

but

noun

Definition of but

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

Recent Examples of but from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'but.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of but

Scots but, adjective (outer)



BUT Defined for English Language Learners

but

conjunction

Definition of but for English Language Learners

  • —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.


but

preposition

Definition of but for English Language Learners

  • : other than (something or someone)


but

noun

Definition of but for English Language Learners

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


BUT Defined for Kids

1

but

conjunction \ bət \

Definition of but for Students

1 :yet nevertheless
  • She fell but wasn't hurt.
He was poor but proud.
2 :while just the opposite
  • I ski but you don't.
3 :except that :unless
  • It never rains but it pours.

2

but

preposition

Definition of but for Students

:other than :except
  • everyone but you

3

but

adverb

Definition of but for Students

:2only 1
  • We have but one choice.


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