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[not] /nɒt/
a Boolean operator that returns a positive result if its operand is negative and a negative result if its operand is positive. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for nots
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • For instance run through John's Gospel, and pick out the negatives on His lips, the "nots."

    Quiet Talks on Service S. D. Gordon
  • Then "self-control" receives the emphasis of an eight-fold repetition of "nots."

    Quiet Talks on Power S.D. Gordon
  • Notice the “nots” and “buts,” indicating the change from the negative to the positive statement.

    English: Composition and Literature W. F. (William Franklin) Webster
  • The original distinction between the "haves" and the "have nots" has persisted throughout history and is with us to-day.

  • Possibly there is exactly the right number of "nots" in the Bible, but they have been wrongly distributed.

    The Squire's Daughter Silas K(itto) Hocking
  • In those days, they always put two nots together when they meant to speak strongly.

    The King's Daughters Emily Sarah Holt
  • There is a busy time under the surface of those "nots" and "alls."

    Quiet Talks on Power S.D. Gordon
British Dictionary definitions for nots


  1. used to negate the sentence, phrase, or word that it modifies: I will not stand for it
  2. (in combination): they cannot go
(conjunction) not that, which is not to say or suppose that: I expect to lose the game — not that I mind Also (archaic) not but what
sentence substitute
used to indicate denial, negation, or refusal: certainly not
Word Origin
C14 not, variant of nought nothing, from Old English nāwiht, from no + wiht creature, thing. See naught, nought
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for nots


negative particle, mid-13c., unstressed variant of noht, naht "in no way" (see naught). As an interjection to negate what was said before or reveal it as sarcasm, it is first attested 1900; popularized 1989 by "Wayne's World" sketches on "Saturday Night Live" TV show. To not know X from Y (one's ass from one's elbow, shit from Shinola, etc.) was a construction first attested c.1930. Double negative construction not un- was derided by Orwell, but is persistent and ancient in English, popular with Milton and the Anglo-Saxon poets.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for nots



What has just been stated is emphatically not true: Millions of animals in experimental labs die annually. Shock value? NOT!/ Hooray for Pat Buchanan, not!/ Dan Quayle has already filmed a commercial declaring Murphy Brown his favorite show ...''not'' (1990s+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with nots


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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