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)

Synonyms for any

3. See some.

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

Related Words for any

all, several, either, each, whatever

British Dictionary definitions for any



  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 standardat 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.