but

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See also: butt, Butt, būt, bút, bût, and but-

English[edit]

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Etymology[edit]

From Middle English but, buten, boute, bouten, from Old English būtan (out of, outside of, off, round about, except, without, all but, but only, besides, in addition to, in spite of, except that, save, but, only, unless, save that, if only, provided that, outside), equivalent to be- +‎ out. Cognate with Scots but, bot (outside, without, but), West Frisian bûten (outside of, apart from, other than, except, but), Dutch buiten (outside), German Low German buuten, buute (outside), Dutch Low Saxon buten (outside). Compare bin, about.

Pronunciation[edit]

Preposition[edit]

but

  1. (obsolete outside Scotland) Outside of.
    Away but the hoose and tell me whae's there.
  2. Without, apart from, except.
    Everyone but Father left early.
    I like everything but that.

Adverb[edit]

but (not comparable)

  1. Merely, only.
    • 1900, L. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz:
      Now the Wicked Witch of the West had but one eye, yet that was as powerful as a telescope, and could see everywhere.
    • 1977, Alistair Horne, A Savage War of Peace, New York Review Books 2006, page 49:
      The stony outcrops are often covered but thinly with arable soil; winters are bitingly cold, and rainfall scanty and unpredictable.
  2. (Australia, conjunctive) Though, however.
    I'll have to go home early but.

Conjunction[edit]

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but

  1. Except (for), excluding. Preceded by a negation.
    • 2011 October 23, Becky Ashton, “QPR 1-0 Chelsea”, BBC Sport:
      Luiz struggled with the movement of Helguson in the box, as he collected a long ball and the Spaniard barged him over, leaving referee Chris Foy little option but to point to the spot.
    I have no choice but to leave.
  2. On the contrary, but rather (introducing a word or clause that contrasts with or contradicts the preceding clause or sentence without the not).
    I am not rich but (I am) poor;  not John but Peter went there
  3. However, although, nevertheless (implies that the following clause is contrary to prior belief or contrasts with or contradicts the preceding clause or sentence).
    • 2013 July 19, Ian Sample, “Irregular bedtimes may affect children's brains”, The Guardian Weekly, volume 189, number 6, page 34: 
      Irregular bedtimes may disrupt healthy brain development in young children, according to a study of intelligence and sleeping habits.  ¶ Going to bed at a different time each night affected girls more than boys, but both fared worse on mental tasks than children who had a set bedtime, researchers found.
    • 2013 June 29, “Travels and travails”, The Economist, volume 407, number 8842, page 55: 
      Even without hovering drones, a lurking assassin, a thumping score and a denouement, the real-life story of Edward Snowden, a rogue spy on the run, could be straight out of the cinema. But, as with Hollywood, the subplots and exotic locations may distract from the real message: America’s discomfort and its foes’ glee.
    She is very old but still attractive.
    You told me I could do that, but she said that I could not.
  4. Except that (introducing a subordinate clause which qualifies a negative statement); also, with omission of the subject of the subordinate clause, acting as a negative relative, "except one that", "except such that".
    • 1603, John Florio, translating Michel de Montaigne, Essays, II.15:
      There is no reason but hath another contrary unto it, saith the wisest party of Philosophers.
    • Shakespeare
      And but my noble Moor is true of mind [] it were enough to put him to ill thinking.
    • 1820, John Keats, ‘Lamia’, Lamia & Other Poems:
      A deadly silence step by step increased, / Until it seem'd a horrid presence there, / And not a man but felt the terror in his hair.
    I cannot but feel offended.
  5. Without it also being the case that; unless that (introducing a necessary concomitant).
    It never rains but it pours.
  6. (obsolete) Except with; unless with; without.
    • Fuller
      So insolent that he could not go but either spurning equals or trampling on his inferiors.
    • Motto of the Mackintoshes
      Touch not the cat but a glove.
  7. (obsolete) Only; solely; merely.
    • Milton
      Observe but how their own principles combat one another.
    • Bible, 2 Kings vii. 4
      If they kill us, we shall but die.
    • Dryden
      a formidable man but to his friends

Usage notes[edit]

  • Beginning a sentence with a coordinating conjunction such as but is considered incorrect by classical grammarians arguing that a coordinating conjunction at the start of a sentence has nothing to connect, but use of the word in this way is very common. It is, however, best to avoid beginning a sentence with but in formal writing. Combining sentences or using however, nevertheless, still, or though is appropriate for the formal style.
    • But this tool has its uses.
    • This tool has its uses, however.
    • Nevertheless, this tool has its uses.
    • Still, this tool has its uses.
    • This tool still has its uses.
    • This tool has its uses, though.
  • The use of the word but preceded by a comma is also considered incorrect by classical grammarians.
    • I was very tired, but I decided to continue.
    • It was a lovely day, but rain looked likely.

Synonyms[edit]

Translations[edit]

The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.

Noun[edit]

but (plural buts)

  1. An instance or example of using the word "but".
    It has to be done – no ifs or buts.
  2. (Scotland) The outer room of a small two-room cottage.
  3. A limit; a boundary.
  4. The end; especially the larger or thicker end, or the blunt, in distinction from the sharp, end; the butt.

Derived terms[edit]

Statistics[edit]

Anagrams[edit]


Danish[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Middle Low German.

Adjective[edit]

but

  1. (rare) blunt

Synonyms[edit]

Antonyms[edit]


French[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle French but (mark, goal), from Old French but (aim, goal, end, target), from Old French butte (mound, knoll, target), from Frankish *but (stump, log), or from Old Norse bútr (log, stump, butt); both from Proto-Germanic *butą (end, piece), from Proto-Indo-European *bʰÀud- (to beat, push). Cognate with Old English butt (tree stump). More at butt.

Noun[edit]

but m (plural buts)

  1. aim
  2. goal (result one is attempting to achieve)
  3. (sports) goal (in the place, act, or point sense)
Synonyms[edit]
Related terms[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

From boire.

Verb[edit]

but

  1. Third-person singular indicative simple past of boire

External links[edit]


Maltese[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

but m (plural bwiet)

  1. pocket

Polish[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

but m

  1. shoe
  2. boot

Declension[edit]


Romani[edit]

Adjective[edit]

but (comparative majbut, superlative legmajbut)

  1. many

Scots[edit]

Noun[edit]

but (plural buts)

  1. The outer room of a small two-room cottage.

Preposition[edit]

but

  1. Outside of, without.

Serbo-Croatian[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Turkish but, bud.

Noun[edit]

bȕt m (Cyrillic spelling бу̏т)

  1. thigh
  2. ham

Declension[edit]


Turkish[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Old Turkic būt, from Proto-Turkic.

Noun[edit]

but (definite accusative [[{{{1}}}#Turkish|{{{1}}}]], plural [[{{{2}}}#Turkish|{{{2}}}]])

  1. thigh

Synonyms[edit]


Volapük[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

but (plural buts)

  1. boot

Declension[edit]