- on the contrary; yet: My brother went, but I did not.
- except; save: She was so overcome with grief she could do nothing but weep.
- unless; if not; except that (followed by a clause, often with that expressed): Nothing would do but that I should come in.
- without the circumstance that: It never rains but it pours.
- otherwise than: There is no hope but by prayer.
- that (used especially after doubt, deny, etc., with a negative): I don't doubt but he will do it.
- who not; that not: No leaders worthy of the name ever existed but they were optimists.
- (used as an intensifier to introduce an exclamatory expression): But she's beautiful!
- Informal. than: It no sooner started raining but it stopped.
- with the exception of; except; save: No one replied but me.
- only; just: There is but one God.
- buts, reservations or objections: You'll do as you're told, no buts about it.
- but for, except for; were it not for: But for the excessive humidity, it might have been a pleasant day.
- but what. what(def 25).
Origin of but1
2, 10. When but is understood as a conjunction and the pronoun following it is understood as the subject of an incompletely expressed clause, the pronoun is in the subjective case: Everyone lost faith in the plan but she ( did not lose faith ). In virtually identical contexts, when but is understood as a preposition, the pronoun following it is in the objective case: Everyone lost faith but her. The prepositional use is more common. However, when prepositional but and its following pronoun occur near the beginning of a sentence, the subjective case often appears: Everyone but she lost faith in the plan. See also doubt, than.
- the outer or front room of a house; the outer or front apartment in an apartment house.
- the kitchen of a two-room dwelling, especially of a cottage.
Origin of but2
Related Words for butsalthough, however, nevertheless, still, though, yet, barring, except, omitting, without, disregarding
Examples from the Web for buts
Contemporary Examples of buts
If ands and buts were candy and nuts,” Boehner said, “every day would be Christmas.Why Eric Cantor Bailed
June 24, 2011
Historical Examples of buts
We cannot have two 'buts' or two 'fors' in the same sentence where the Greek repeats (Greek).Charmides
I tell you frankly, Paine, if you go to work for me there must be no 'ifs' or 'buts' about it.The Rise of Roscoe Paine
Joseph C. Lincoln
"There ain't no buts about it," broke in Tilda with swift asperity.
"I have no time for 'buts' and 'ifs,'" she interrupts him, gently.Molly Bawn
Margaret Wolfe Hamilton
"No 'buts' about it," put in Myra, still sucking her injured tongue.Tabitha's Vacation
Ruth Alberta Brown
- contrary to expectationhe cut his knee but didn't cry
- in contrast; on the contraryI like opera but my husband doesn't
- (usually used after a negative) other thanwe can't do anything but wait
- (usually used after a negative) without it happening or being the case thatwe never go out but it rains
- (foll by that) except thatnothing is impossible but that we live forever
- archaic if not; unless
- informal used to introduce an exclamationmy, but you're nice
- except; savethey saved all but one of the pigs
- but for were it not forbut for you, we couldn't have managed
- just; merely; onlyhe was but a child; I can but try
- Scot, Australian and NZ informal though; howeverit's a rainy day: warm, but
- all but almost; practicallyhe was all but dead when we found him
- an objection (esp in the phrase ifs and buts)
Word Origin for but
- the outer room of a two-roomed cottage: usually the kitchen
- in or into the outer part (of a house)Compare ben 1
Word Origin for but
In addition to the idioms beginning with but
- but for
- but good
- all but
- all over but the shouting
- anything but
- can't help but
- close but no cigar
- everything but the kitchen sink
- it never rains but it pours
- last but not least
- no ifs or buts
- nothing but
- sadder but wiser
- separate but equal
- slow but sure
- spirit is willing but the flesh is weak
- there but for the grace of god