From Middle English noon thing, non thing, na þing, nan thing, nan þing, from Old English nāþing, nān þing (“nothing”, literally “not any thing”), equivalent to no + thing. Compare Old English nāwiht (“nothing”, literally “no thing”), Swedish ingenting (“nothing”, literally “not any thing, no thing”).
- Not any thing; no thing.
1918, W. B. Maxwell, chapter 19, in The Mirror and the Lamp:
- Nothing was too small to receive attention, if a supervising eye could suggest improvements likely to conduce to the common welfare. Mr. Gordon Burnage, for instance, personally visited dust-bins and back premises, accompanied by a sort of village bailiff, going his round like a commanding officer doing billets.
2013 July 19, Peter Wilby, “Finland spreads word on schools”, in The Guardian Weekly, volume 189, number 6, page 30:
- Imagine a country where children do nothing but play until they start compulsory schooling at age seven. Then, without exception, they attend comprehensives until the age of 16. Charging school fees is illegal, and so is sorting pupils into ability groups by streaming or setting.
- An absence of anything, including empty space, brightness, darkness, matter, or a vacuum.
- (not any thing):
- (something trifling): nothing of any consequence, nothing consequential, nothing important, nothing significant, something inconsequential, something insignificant, something of no consequence, something trifling, something unimportant
nothing (plural nothings)
- Something trifling, or of no consequence or importance.
- What happened to your face? — It's nothing.
- Jeremy Taylor
- Sermons are not like curious inquiries after new nothings, but pursuances of old truths.
- A trivial remark (especially in the term sweet nothings).
- A nobody (insignificant person).
- You're nothing to me now!
nothing (not comparable)
- (archaic) Not at all; in no way.
1662, Thomas Salusbury, Galileo's Dialogue Concerning the Two World Systems:
- The Motion from London to Syria is as much as nothing; and nothing altereth the relation which is between them.