1 of 4


noth·​ing ˈnə-thiŋ How to pronounce nothing (audio)
: not any thing : no thing
leaves nothing to the imagination
: no part
: one of no interest, value, or consequence
they mean nothing to me

see also next to nothing


2 of 4


: not at all : in no degree


3 of 4


plural nothings
: something that does not exist
: the absence of all magnitude or quantity
also : zero sense 1a
: someone or something of no or slight value or size
: 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 Austen
He … had the most insinuating way of saying impertinent nothings to his doting female admirers.Charles Dickens
see also sweet nothings


4 of 4


: of no account : worthless
nothing doing
: by no means : definitely no
nothing for it
: no alternative
nothing for it but to start over
nothing like
: not nearly
it's nothing like thorough enough
for nothing
: without reason
: at no charge

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
And just so, these clouds like lines of coke, these fine bird-bone clouds giving structure to the afternoon sky will decompose into faint nothings. Matthew Gavin Frank, Harper's Magazine, 9 June 2023 But even before that, women like Tina Turner and Josephine Baker were wearing costumes that evoked intimate little nothings. Kristen Bateman, ELLE, 14 Apr. 2023 From Loewe’s dynamic striped wonders to Versace’s Courtney Love-esque little nothings, loose-fitting, pint-sizes dresses with major volume quickly became the garment on everyone’s minds. Kristen Bateman, ELLE, 22 Mar. 2023 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 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'nothing.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



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

First Known Use


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

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

Dictionary Entries Near nothing

Cite this Entry

“Nothing.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Nov. 2023.

Kids Definition


1 of 3 pronoun
noth·​ing ˈnəth-iŋ How to pronounce nothing (audio)
: not anything
there's nothing in the box
: one of no interest, value, or importance
your opinion means nothing to me


2 of 3 adverb
: not at all : in no way


3 of 3 noun
: something that does not exist
: absence of quantity : zero
: something of little or no worth or importance
nothingness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on nothing

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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