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
And in those conflicts, the Predator would be all-but-useless.The Killer Drone Goes Stealthy—Just in Time for a New Cold War | Zach Rosenberg | April 16, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
It will leave the ACA intact, as is, to accrete interest group support until reform becomes all-but-impossible.
Plushenko himself, an amusingly sore loser, played along by all-but-gay-baiting the Americans.
Scarcely any President was ever elected with such all-but unanimity, and the Press was equally undivided in its praises.Lands of the Slave and the Free | Henry A. Murray
The soul was very still, tired after an all-but-forgotten struggle.Where the Path Breaks | Charles de Crspigny
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