But and if
But But (b[u^]t), prep., adv. & conj. [OE. bute, buten, AS. b[=u]tan, without, on the outside, except, besides; pref. be- + [=u]tan outward, without, fr. [=u]t out. Primarily, b[=u]tan, as well as [=u]t, is an adverb. [root]198. See {By}, {Out}; cf. {About}.] 1. Except with; unless with; without. [Obs.] [1913 Webster]

So insolent that he could not go but either spurning equals or trampling on his inferiors. --Fuller. [1913 Webster]

Touch not the cat but a glove. --Motto of the Mackintoshes. [1913 Webster]

2. Except; besides; save. [1913 Webster]

Who can it be, ye gods! but perjured Lycon? --E. Smith. [1913 Webster]

Note: In this sense, but is often used with other particles; as, but for, without, had it not been for. ``Uncreated but for love divine.'' --Young. [1913 Webster]

3. Excepting or excluding the fact that; save that; were it not that; unless; -- elliptical, for but that. [1913 Webster]

And but my noble Moor is true of mind . . . it were enough to put him to ill thinking. --Shak. [1913 Webster]

4. Otherwise than that; that not; -- commonly, after a negative, with that. [1913 Webster]

It cannot be but nature hath some director, of infinite power, to guide her in all her ways. --Hooker. [1913 Webster]

There is no question but the king of Spain will reform most of the abuses. --Addison. [1913 Webster]

5. Only; solely; merely. [1913 Webster]

Observe but how their own principles combat one another. --Milton. [1913 Webster]

If they kill us, we shall but die. --2 Kings vii. 4. [1913 Webster]

A formidable man but to his friends. --Dryden. [1913 Webster]

6. On the contrary; on the other hand; only; yet; still; however; nevertheless; more; further; -- as connective of sentences or clauses of a sentence, in a sense more or less exceptive or adversative; as, the House of Representatives passed the bill, but the Senate dissented; our wants are many, but quite of another kind. [1913 Webster]

Now abideth faith hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity. --1 Cor. xiii. 13. [1913 Webster]

When pride cometh, then cometh shame; but with the lowly is wisdom. --Prov. xi. 2. [1913 Webster]

{All but}. See under {All}.

{But and if}, but if; an attempt on the part of King James's translators of the Bible to express the conjunctive and adversative force of the Greek ?. [1913 Webster]

But and if that servant say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; . . . the lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him. --Luke xii. 45, 46. [1913 Webster]

{But if}, unless. [Obs.] --Chaucer. [1913 Webster]

But this I read, that but if remedy Thou her afford, full shortly I her dead shall see. --Spenser. [1913 Webster]

Syn: {But}, {However}, {Still}.

Usage: These conjunctions mark opposition in passing from one thought or topic to another. But marks the opposition with a medium degree of strength; as, this is not winter, but it is almost as cold; he requested my assistance, but I shall not aid him at present. However is weaker, and throws the opposition (as it were) into the background; as, this is not winter; it is, however, almost as cold; he required my assistance; at present, however, I shall not afford him aid. The plan, however, is still under consideration, and may yet be adopted. Still is stronger than but, and marks the opposition more emphatically; as, your arguments are weighty; still they do not convince me. See {Except}, {However}. [1913 Webster]

Note: ``The chief error with but is to use it where and is enough; an error springing from the tendency to use strong words without sufficient occasion.'' --Bain. [1913 Webster]


The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

Look at other dictionaries:

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