See more synonyms for nothing on
  1. no thing; not anything; naught: to say nothing.
  2. no part, share, or trace (usually followed by of): The house showed nothing of its former magnificence.
  3. something that is nonexistent.
  4. nonexistence; nothingness: The sound faded to nothing.
  5. something or someone of no importance or significance: Money is nothing when you're without health.
  6. a trivial action, matter, circumstance, thing, or remark: to exchange a few nothings when being introduced.
  7. a person of little or no importance; a nobody.
  8. something that is without quantity or magnitude.
  9. a cipher or naught: Nothing from nine leaves nine.
  10. (used in conventional responses to expressions of thanks): Think nothing of it. It's nothing. Nothing to it.
  1. in no respect or degree; not at all: It was nothing like that. Nothing dismayed, he repeated his question.
  1. amounting to nothing, as in offering no prospects for satisfaction, advancement, or the like: She was stuck in a nothing job.
  1. for nothing,
    1. free of charge.
    2. for no apparent reason or motive.
    3. futilely; to no avail: They had gone to a great deal of expense for nothing.
  2. in nothing flat, in very little time: Dinner was finished in nothing flat.
  3. make nothing of,
    1. to treat lightly; regard as easy.
    2. to be unsuccessful in comprehending: He could make nothing of the complicated directions.
  4. nothing but, nothing other than; only: We could see nothing but fog.
  5. nothing doing,
    1. Informal.emphatically no; certainly not.
    2. no activity, inducement, advantage, etc., present to the eye: We drove through the town but there seemed to be nothing doing.
  6. nothing less than/short of, absolutely; completely: She was used to nothing less than the best.
  7. think nothing of,
    1. to treat casually.
    2. to regard as insignificant: He thinks nothing of lying to conceal his incompetence.

Origin of nothing

before 900; Middle English; Old English nānthing, nathing; see no2, thing1 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for nothing

Contemporary Examples of nothing

Historical Examples of nothing

  • After this, nothing could restore the courtesy he had previously assumed.


    Lydia Maria Child

  • I could tell it, if nothing else showed it, by the way in which she overdoes respectability.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • But, to relieve your mind, nothing at all has really happened.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • "Nothing, only you locked the door by mistake," said Ben, coolly.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • "Nothing but a half loaf, and that's dry enough," muttered the stranger.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

British Dictionary definitions for nothing


  1. (indefinite) no thing; not anything, as of an implied or specified class of thingsI can give you nothing
  2. no part or shareto have nothing to do with this crime
  3. a matter of no importance or significanceit doesn't matter, it's nothing
  4. indicating the absence of anything perceptible; nothingness
  5. indicating the absence of meaning, value, worth, etcto amount to nothing
  6. zero quantity; nought
  7. be nothing to
    1. not to concern or be significant to (someone)
    2. to be not nearly as good as
  8. have nothing to do with or be nothing to do with to have no connection with
  9. have nothing on or have got nothing on
    1. to have no engagements to keep
    2. to be undressed or naked
    3. informalto compare unfavourably with
  10. in nothing flat informal in almost no time; very quickly or soon
  11. nothing but not something other than; only
  12. nothing doing informal an expression of dismissal, disapproval, lack of compliance with a request, etc
  13. nothing if not at the very least; certainly
  14. nothing less than or nothing short of downright; truly
  15. there's nothing for it there's no choice; there's no other course
  16. there's nothing like a general expression of praisethere's nothing like a good cup of tea
  17. there's nothing to it it is very simple, easy, etc
  18. think nothing of
    1. to regard as routine, easy, or natural
    2. to have no compunction or hesitation about
    3. to have a very low opinion of
  19. to say nothing of as well as; even disregardinghe was warmly dressed in a shirt and heavy jumper, to say nothing of his thick overcoat
  20. stop at nothing to be prepared to do anything; be unscrupulous or ruthless
  1. in no way; not at allhe looked nothing like his brother
  1. informal a person or thing of no importance or significance
  2. sweet nothings words of endearment or affection

Word Origin for nothing

Old English nāthing, nān thing, from nān none 1 + thing 1


Nothing normally takes a singular verb, but when nothing but is followed by a plural form of a noun, a plural verb is usually used: it was a large room where nothing but souvenirs were sold
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 nothing

Old English naþing, naðinc, from nan "not one" (see none) + þing "thing" (see thing). Meaning "insignificant thing" is from c.1600. As an adverb from c.1200. As an adjective from 1961.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with nothing


In addition to the idioms beginning with nothing

  • nothing but
  • nothing doing
  • nothing if not
  • nothing like
  • nothing new under the sun
  • nothing of the kind
  • nothing short of
  • nothing to do with
  • nothing to it, there's
  • nothing to sneeze at
  • nothing to speak of
  • nothing to write home about
  • nothing ventured, nothing gained

also see:

  • come to nothing
  • count for (nothing)
  • go for nothing
  • have nothing on
  • have nothing to do with
  • here goes (nothing)
  • in no time (nothing flat)
  • leave a lot (nothing) to be desired
  • make nothing of
  • make something of (nothing)
  • much ado about nothing
  • not know beans (from nothing)
  • not to mention (say nothing of)
  • stop at nothing
  • sweet nothings
  • think nothing of
  • want for nothing
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.