[ nuhth-ing ]
See synonyms for nothing on
  1. no thing; not anything; naught: to say nothing.

  2. no part, share, or trace (usually followed by of): The house showed nothing of its former magnificence.

  1. something that is nonexistent.

  2. nonexistence; nothingness: The sound faded to nothing.

  3. something of no importance or significance: Wealth is nothing if you're not healthy enough to enjoy it.

  4. a trivial action, matter, circumstance, thing, or remark: to exchange a few nothings when being introduced.

  5. a person of little or no importance; a nobody.

  6. something that is without quantity or magnitude.

  7. a cipher or naught: Nothing from nine leaves nine.

  8. (used in conventional responses to expressions of thanks): Think nothing of it. It's nothing. Nothing to it.

  1. in no respect or degree; not at all: It was nothing like that. Nothing dismayed, he repeated his question.

  1. amounting to nothing, as in offering no prospects for satisfaction, advancement, or the like: She was stuck in a nothing job.

Idioms about nothing

  1. for nothing,

    • free of charge.

    • for no apparent reason or motive.

    • futilely; to no avail: They had gone to a great deal of expense for nothing.

  2. in nothing flat, in very little time: Dinner was finished in nothing flat.

  1. make nothing of,

    • to treat lightly; regard as easy.

    • to be unsuccessful in comprehending: He could make nothing of the complicated directions.

  2. nothing but, nothing other than; only: We could see nothing but fog.

  3. nothing doing,

    • Informal. emphatically no; certainly not.

    • no activity, inducement, advantage, etc., present to the eye: We drove through the town but there seemed to be nothing doing.

  4. nothing less than / short of, absolutely; completely: She was used to nothing less than the best.

  5. think nothing of,

    • to treat casually.

    • to regard as insignificant: He thinks nothing of lying to conceal his incompetence.

Origin of nothing

First recorded before 900; Middle English; Old English nānthing, nathing; see no2, thing1

Words Nearby nothing Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use nothing in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for nothing


/ (ˈnʌθɪŋ) /

  1. (indefinite) no thing; not anything, as of an implied or specified class of things: I can give you nothing

  2. no part or share: to have nothing to do with this crime

  1. a matter of no importance or significance: it doesn't matter, it's nothing

  2. indicating the absence of anything perceptible; nothingness

  3. indicating the absence of meaning, value, worth, etc: to amount to nothing

  4. zero quantity; nought

  5. be nothing to

    • not to concern or be significant to (someone)

    • to be not nearly as good as

  6. have nothing to do with or be nothing to do with to have no connection with

  7. have nothing on or have got nothing on

    • to have no engagements to keep

    • to be undressed or naked

    • informal to compare unfavourably with

  8. in nothing flat informal in almost no time; very quickly or soon

  9. nothing but not something other than; only

  10. nothing doing informal an expression of dismissal, disapproval, lack of compliance with a request, etc

  11. nothing if not at the very least; certainly

  12. nothing less than or nothing short of downright; truly

  13. there's nothing for it there's no choice; there's no other course

  14. there's nothing like a general expression of praise: there's nothing like a good cup of tea

  15. there's nothing to it it is very simple, easy, etc

  16. think nothing of

    • to regard as routine, easy, or natural

    • to have no compunction or hesitation about

    • to have a very low opinion of

  17. to say nothing of as well as; even disregarding: he was warmly dressed in a shirt and heavy jumper, to say nothing of his thick overcoat

  18. stop at nothing to be prepared to do anything; be unscrupulous or ruthless

  1. in no way; not at all: he looked nothing like his brother

  1. informal a person or thing of no importance or significance

  2. sweet nothings words of endearment or affection

Origin of nothing

Old English nāthing, nān thing, from nān none 1 + thing 1

usage For nothing

Nothing normally takes a singular verb, but when nothing but is followed by a plural form of a noun, a plural verb is usually used: it was a large room where nothing but souvenirs were sold

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with nothing


In addition to the idioms beginning with nothing

  • nothing but
  • nothing doing
  • nothing if not
  • nothing like
  • nothing new under the sun
  • nothing of the kind
  • nothing short of
  • nothing to do with
  • nothing to it, there's
  • nothing to sneeze at
  • nothing to speak of
  • nothing to write home about
  • nothing ventured, nothing gained

also see:

  • come to nothing
  • count for (nothing)
  • go for nothing
  • have nothing on
  • have nothing to do with
  • here goes (nothing)
  • in no time (nothing flat)
  • leave a lot (nothing) to be desired
  • make nothing of
  • make something of (nothing)
  • much ado about nothing
  • not know beans (from nothing)
  • not to mention (say nothing of)
  • stop at nothing
  • sweet nothings
  • think nothing of
  • want for nothing

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