Origin of without

before 900; Middle English withouten, Old English withūtan (adv. and preposition), equivalent to with with + -ūtan from without, equivalent to ūt out + -an suffix of motion from
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for without

after, beyond, out, outdoors, outwardly, past, externally, out-of-doors

Examples from the Web for without

Contemporary Examples of without

Historical Examples of without

  • I spoke to Philothea just as I used to do; without remembering that she had died.


    Lydia Maria Child

  • Without reasons I was sure of, you know, so there could be no chance of any mistake.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • It seems to me that life is no life, but living death, without that freedom!

    The Armourer's Prentices

    Charlotte M. Yonge

  • Without knowing why, they understood perfectly now that neither had been ingenuous.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • You shall be reckless as you like—but without your stored energy surplus to harm you.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

British Dictionary definitions for without



not havinga traveller without much money
not accompanied byhe came without his wife
not making use ofit is not easy to undo screws without a screwdriver
(foll by a verbal noun or noun phrase) not, while not, or after notshe can sing for two minutes without drawing breath
archaic on the outside of


formal outside; outwardly


not standard unlessdon't come without you have some money
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 without

Old English wiðutan, literally "against the outside" (opposite of within), see with + out. As a word expressing lack or want of something (opposite of with), attested from c.1200. In use by late 14c. as a conjunction, short for without that.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with without


In addition to the idioms beginning with without

  • without a leg to stand on
  • without a stitch on
  • without batting an eye
  • without doubt
  • without fail
  • without further ado
  • without question
  • without so much as

also see:

  • absent without leave
  • do without
  • get along without
  • go without saying
  • no smoke without fire
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.