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Alternative forms[edit]


From Middle English withoute, withouten, from Old English wiþūtan (literally against the outside of); equivalent to with +‎ out. Compare Dutch buiten (outside of, without), Danish uden (without), Swedish utan (without), Norwegian uten (without).


  • (UK, US) IPA(key): /wɪθˈaʊt/, /wɪðˈaʊt/
  • (Canada) IPA(key): /wɪθˈʌʊt/
  • (file)
  • (file)
  • Hyphenation: with‧out


without (not comparable)

  1. (archaic or literary) Outside, externally. This is still used in the names of some civil parishes in England, e.g. St Cuthbert Without.
  2. Lacking something.
    Being from a large, poor family, he learned to live without.
  3. (euphemistic) In prostitution: without a condom being worn.
    • 2012, Maxim Jakubowski, The Best British Crime Omnibus:
      “What's within reason?” “Hand-job, blow-job, full sex — straight, full service. Greek, maybe, if you're not too big. Golden shower, if you like, but not reverse. No hardsports. And absolutely nothing without.”



  1. (archaic or literary) Outside of, beyond.
    Antonym: within
    The snow was swirling without the cottage, but it was warm within.
    • (Can we date this quote by John Dryden and provide title, author’s full name, and other details?)
      Without the gate / Some drive the cars, and some the coursers rein.
    • (Can we date this quote by Thomas Burnet and provide title, author’s full name, and other details?)
      Eternity, before the world and after, is without our reach.
    • 1967, George Harrison, Sgt Pepper
      Life goes on within you and without you.
  2. Not having, containing, characteristic of, etc.
    Antonym: with
    It was a mistake to leave my house without a coat.
    • 1918, W. B. Maxwell, chapter 22, in The Mirror and the Lamp:
      From another point of view, it was a place without a soul. The well-to-do had hearts of stone; the rich were brutally bumptious; the Press, the Municipality, all the public men, were ridiculously, vaingloriously self-satisfied.
    • 1967, George Harrison, Sgt Pepper
      Life goes on within you and without you.
    • 2013 June 29, “Travels and travails”, in 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.
  3. Not doing or not having done something.
    He likes to eat everything without sharing.
    He shot without warning anyone.
    • 1883, Howard Pyle, The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood Chapter V
      But in the meantime Robin Hood and his band lived quietly in Sherwood Forest, without showing their faces abroad, for Robin knew that it would not be wise for him to be seen in the neighborhood of Nottingham, those in authority being very wroth with him.
    • 1892, Walter Besant, “Prologue: Who is Edmund Gray?”, in The Ivory Gate: A Novel, New York, N.Y.: Harper & Brothers, [], OCLC 16832619, page 16:
      Athelstan Arundel walked home [], foaming and raging. [] He walked the whole way, walking through crowds, and under the noses of dray-horses, carriage-horses, and cart-horses, without taking the least notice of them.



Derived terms[edit]




  1. (archaic or dialect) Unless, except (introducing a clause).
    • 1485, Sir Thomas Malory, chapter iij, in Le Morte Darthur, book XV:
      And whanne this old man had sayd thus he came to one of tho knyghtes and sayd I haue lost alle that I haue sette in the / For thou hast rulyd the ageynste me as a warryour and vsed wrong werres with vayne glory more for the pleasyr of the world than to please me / therfor thow shalt be confounded withoute thow yelde me my tresour
    • 1884 December 10, Mark Twain [pseudonym; Samuel Langhorne Clemens], chapter I, in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: (Tom Sawyer’s Comrade) [], London: Chatto & Windus, [], OCLC 458431182, page 1:
      You don't know about me, without you have read a book by the name of "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer," but that ain't no matter.
    • 1913, DH Lawrence, Sons and Lovers, Penguin, 2006, p.264:
      ‘Why,’ he blurted, ‘because they say I've no right to come up like this—without we mean to marry—’