in no respect or degree; not at all: It was nothing like that. Nothing dismayed, he repeated his question.


amounting to nothing, as in offering no prospects for satisfaction, advancement, or the like: She was stuck in a nothing job.

Nearby words

  1. notes,
  2. notes inégales,
  3. noteworthy,
  4. noteć,
  5. nother,
  6. nothing but,
  7. nothing doing,
  8. nothing if not,
  9. nothing like,
  10. nothing new under the sun


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. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for nothing doing



(indefinite) no thing; not anything, as of an implied or specified class of thingsI can give you nothing
no part or shareto have nothing to do with this crime
a matter of no importance or significanceit doesn't matter, it's nothing
indicating the absence of anything perceptible; nothingness
indicating the absence of meaning, value, worth, etcto amount to nothing
zero quantity; nought
be nothing to
  1. not to concern or be significant to (someone)
  2. to be not nearly as good as
have nothing to do with or be nothing to do with to have no connection with
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
in nothing flat informal in almost no time; very quickly or soon
nothing but not something other than; only
nothing doing informal an expression of dismissal, disapproval, lack of compliance with a request, etc
nothing if not at the very least; certainly
nothing less than or nothing short of downright; truly
there's nothing for it there's no choice; there's no other course
there's nothing like a general expression of praisethere's nothing like a good cup of tea
there's nothing to it it is very simple, easy, etc
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
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
stop at nothing to be prepared to do anything; be unscrupulous or ruthless


in no way; not at allhe looked nothing like his brother


informal a person or thing of no importance or significance
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 doing



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 doing

nothing doing

Certainly not, as in Can I borrow your down coat?—Nothing doing. This colloquial interjection was first recorded in 1910. Also see, no dice.


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.