[ en-ee ]
/ ˈɛn i /



an unspecified person or persons; anybody; anyone: He does better than any before him.
a single one or ones; an unspecified thing or things; a quantity or number: We don't have any left.


in whatever degree; to some extent; at all: Do you feel any better?


    any which way, in any manner whatever; indifferently or carelessly: Doing your work any which way is just not good enough.

Origin of any

before 950; Middle English eni, ani, Old English ǣnig (Old English ān one + -ig -y1)

Usage note Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for any


/ (ˈɛnɪ) /


  1. one, some, or several, as specified, no matter how much or many, what kind or quality, etcany cheese in the cupboard is yours; you may take any clothes you like
  2. (as pronoun; functioning as sing or plural)take any you like
(usually used with a negative)
  1. even the smallest amount or even oneI can't stand any noise
  2. (as pronoun; functioning as sing or plural)don't give her any
whatever or whichever; no matter what or whichany dictionary will do; any time of day
an indefinite or unlimited amount or number (esp in the phrases any amount or number)any number of friends


(usually used with a negative)
  1. (foll by a comparative adjective) to even the smallest extentit isn't any worse now
  2. not standard at allhe doesn't care any

Word Origin for any

Old English ǣnig; related to Old Frisian ēnig, Old High German einag, Old Norse einigr anyone, Latin ūnicus unique; see an 1, one
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

Word Origin and History for any



Old English ænig "any, anyone," literally "one-y," from Proto-Germanic *ainagas (cf. Old Saxon enig, Old Norse einigr, Old Frisian enich, Dutch enig, German einig), from PIE *oi-no- "one, unique" (see one). The -y may have diminutive force here.

Emphatic form any old ______ (British variant: any bloody ______) is recorded from 1896. At any rate is recorded from 1847. Among the large family of compounds beginning with any-, anykyn "any kind" (c.1300) did not survive, and Anywhen (1831) is rarely used, but OED calls it "common in Southern [British] dialects."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with any


In addition to the idioms beginning with any

  • any day
  • any longer
  • any number of
  • any old
  • any port in a storm

also see:

  • at any rate
  • by any means
  • go to any length
  • in any case
  • under any (no) circumstances
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.