noth·​ing | \ ˈnə-thiŋ How to pronounce nothing (audio) \

Definition of nothing

 (Entry 1 of 4)

1 : not any thing : no thing leaves nothing to the imagination
2 : no part
3 : one of no interest, value, or consequence they mean nothing to me
nothing doing
: by no means : definitely no
nothing for it
: no alternative nothing for it but to start over

— see also next to nothing



Definition of nothing (Entry 2 of 4)

: not at all : in no degree
nothing like
: not nearly it's nothing like thorough enough


plural nothings

Definition of nothing (Entry 3 of 4)

1a : something that does not exist
b : the absence of all magnitude or quantity also : zero sense 1a
2 : someone or something of no or slight value or size
3 : a light, playful, or frivolous remark usually plural … from the time of their sitting down to table, it was a quick succession of busy nothings till the carriage came to the door …— Jane AustenHe … had the most insinuating way of saying impertinent nothings to his doting female admirers.— Charles Dickens — see also sweet nothings
for nothing
1 : without reason
2 : at no charge



Definition of nothing (Entry 4 of 4)

: of no account : worthless

Examples of nothing in a Sentence

Pronoun There's nothing in my hands. She knows nothing of our plans. You have nothing to worry about. There's nothing fun to do around here. You think that's bad? It's nothing compared to what I went through. Don't get all upset over nothing. Your opinion means nothing to me. “Are you hurt?” “Don't worry. It's nothing.” Adverb She is nothing like her sister. It's nothing close to finished. Noun It appeared out of nothing. The UFO hovered for a while, then vanished into nothing. My children are important to me—I'm nothing without them. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun But central banks can do nothing directly to increase productivity. Ramesh Ponnuru, National Review, 2 Apr. 2020 Tearing down the names of Hood and Lee, that don’t change nothing. 1843, 2 Apr. 2020 Four hours of early morning German grammar drills did nothing to help that situation. Sarah Wu, Glamour, 1 Apr. 2020 Dwelling on inadequacies does nothing to help people feel more prepared or in control of a desperate situation. Ryan Nickerson, Houston Chronicle, 1 Apr. 2020 But those deaths could have been as high as 2.2 million, if the U.S. did nothing, Mr. Trump said. Kathryn Watson, CBS News, 1 Apr. 2020 People don't make excuses for their friends who have done nothing wrong. Joseph Gerth, The Courier-Journal, 31 Mar. 2020 There's nothing quite like being lulled to sleep by a wonderful bedtime story. Kelsey Hurwitz, Woman's Day, 31 Mar. 2020 The oldest species on our planet were microscopic, nothing more than itty-bitty specks. Riley Black, Smithsonian Magazine, 30 Mar. 2020 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'nothing.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of nothing


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


12th century, in the meaning defined above


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2


1611, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for nothing


Middle English, from Old English nān thing, nāthing, from nān no + thing thing — more at none

Learn More About nothing

Time Traveler for nothing

Time Traveler

The first known use of nothing was before the 12th century

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Dictionary Entries Near nothing




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Statistics for nothing

Cite this Entry

“Nothing.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for nothing


noth·​ing | \ ˈnə-thiŋ How to pronounce nothing (audio) \

Kids Definition of nothing

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : not anything : no thing There's nothing in the box.
2 : someone or something of no interest, value, or importance Your opinion is nothing to me.



Kids Definition of nothing (Entry 2 of 3)

: not at all : in no way He is nothing like his brother.



Kids Definition of nothing (Entry 3 of 3)

1 : something that does not exist : empty space The magician made a rabbit appear out of nothing.
2 : zero sense 1 The score was ten to nothing.
3 : someone or something of little or no worth or importance I'm nothing without my friends and family.
for nothing
1 : for no reason We did all that work for nothing.
2 : for no money

Other Words from nothing

nothingness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on nothing

Nglish: Translation of nothing for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of nothing for Arabic Speakers


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