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but for

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Except for, were it not for. For example, But for the afternoon shower, it was a perfect day, or But for the children, they would have gotten a divorce long ago. [c. 1200]

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

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