all but

Almost, nearly, as in I've all but finished the book. This expression was used by Andrew Marvell in “Thoughts in a Garden”: “Society is all but rude, To this delicious solitude.” [Late 1500s]

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

How to use all but in a sentence

  • A profound instinct has taught even the lower races of men (for the most part) to avoid such union of the all-but-identical.

    Falling in Love | Grant Allen
  • Foch was all-but sure they were not wrong; that it was not in German nature to reason other than as I have described.

    Foch the Man | Clara E. Laughlin
  • "I get something else, too," replied Maclay, in the same all-but soundless whisper.

    Lad: A Dog | Albert Payson Terhune