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Alternative forms[edit]


Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English anything, enything, onything, from Late Old English aniþing, from earlier ǣniġ þing (literally any thing), equivalent to any +‎ thing.



  1. Any object, act, state, event, or fact whatever; a thing of any kind; something or other.
    Synonym: aught
    I would not do it for anything.
    • 1892, Walter Besant, “Prologue: Who is Edmund Gray?”, in The Ivory Gate [], New York, N.Y.: Harper & Brothers, [], →OCLC:
      Thus, when he drew up instructions in lawyer language [] his clerks [] understood him very well. If he had written a love letter, or a farce, or a ballade, or a story, no one, either clerks, or friends, or compositors, would have understood anything but a word here and a word there.
    • 2013 May 25, “No hiding place”, in The Economist, volume 407, number 8837, page 74:
      In America alone, people spent $170 billion on “direct marketing”—junk mail of both the physical and electronic varieties—last year. Yet of those who received unsolicited adverts through the post, only 3% bought anything as a result. If the bumf arrived electronically, the take-up rate was 0.1%. And for online adverts the “conversion” into sales was a minuscule 0.01%.
  2. (with “as” or “like”) Expressing an indefinite comparison.
    • 1916, Edward S. Moffat, Go Forth and Find, pages 81–82:
      Perhaps it was this atmosphere of misplacedness and loneliness as much as anything which led her to speak to him one evening in early summer when the office had closed.
Derived terms[edit]


anything (plural anythings)

  1. Someone or something of importance.
    • 1986, David Henry Hwang, M. Butterfly:
      How long does it take to turn you actors into good anythings?
    • 2007 May 6, Cindy Chupack, “An Ancient Coda to My 21st-Century Divorce”, in New York Times[1]:
      So we tried not to talk about first or second anythings until our meeting with the rabbi.
Related terms[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English anything, enything, onything, onythynge, from Old English ǣniġe þinga, ǣnġi þinga (literally by any of things), from ǣniġe, instrumental form of ǣniġ (any) + þinga, genitive plural of þing (thing).


anything (not comparable)

  1. In any way, any extent or any degree.
    That isn't anything like a car.
    She's not anything like as strong as me.