all but

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Alternative forms[edit]


all but (not comparable)

  1. Very nearly; everything short of.
    The food is all but finished.
    • 1977, Alec Guinness as Obi-Wan Kenobi, Star Wars, written by George Lucas, 20th Century Fox:
      A young Jedi named Darth Vader, who was a pupil of mine until he turned to evil, helped the Empire hunt down and destroy the Jedi Knights. [...] Now the Jedi are all but extinct.
    • 2013 September 28, Kenan Malik, "London Is Special, but Not That Special," New York Times (retrieved 28 September 2013):
      When the first wave of postwar immigrants arrived in Britain in the 1950s and ’60s, it was a period of rising wages, full employment, an expanding welfare state and strong trade unions. Today, Britain’s manufacturing base has all but disappeared, working-class communities have disintegrated, unions have been neutered and the welfare state has begun to crumble.
    • 2011 November 11, Rory Houston, “Estonia 0-4 Republic of Ireland”, in RTE Sport[1]:
      A stunning performance from the Republic of Ireland all but sealed progress to Euro 2012 as they crushed nine-man Estonia 4-0 in the first leg of the qualifying play-off tie in A Le Coq Arena in Tallinn.