1. Wholly; completely; altogether; entirely; quite; very; as, all bedewed; my friend is all for amusement. “And cheeks all pale.”
Note: ☞ In the ancient phrases, all too dear, all too much, all so long, etc., this word retains its appropriate sense or becomes intensive.
2. Even; just. (Often a mere intensive adjunct.) [Obs. or Poet.]
All as his straying flock he fed. --Spenser.
A damsel lay deploring
All on a rock reclined. --Gay.
All to, or All-to. In such phrases as “all to rent,” “all to break,” “all-to frozen,” etc., which are of frequent occurrence in our old authors, the all and the to have commonly been regarded as forming a compound adverb, equivalent in meaning to entirely, completely, altogether. But the sense of entireness lies wholly in the word all (as it does in “all forlorn,” and similar expressions), and the to properly belongs to the following word, being a kind of intensive prefix (orig. meaning asunder and answering to the LG. ter-, HG. zer-). It is frequently to be met with in old books, used without the all. Thus Wyclif says, “The vail of the temple was to rent:” and of Judas, “He was hanged and to-burst the middle:” i. e., burst in two, or asunder.
All along. See under Along.
All and some, individually and collectively, one and all. [Obs.] “Displeased all and some.” --Fairfax.
All but. (a) Scarcely; not even. [Obs.] --Shak. (b) Almost; nearly. “The fine arts were all but proscribed.” --Macaulay.
All hollow, entirely, completely; as, to beat any one all hollow. [Low]
All one, the same thing in effect; that is, wholly the same thing.
All over, over the whole extent; thoroughly; wholly; as, she is her mother all over. [Colloq.]
All the better, wholly the better; that is, better by the whole difference.
All the same, nevertheless. “There they [certain phenomena] remain rooted all the same, whether we recognize them or not.” --J. C. Shairp. “But Rugby is a very nice place all the same.” --T. Arnold. -- See also under All, n.
But prep., adv. & conj.
1. Except with; unless with; without. [Obs.]
So insolent that he could not go but either spurning equals or trampling on his inferiors. --Fuller.
Touch not the cat but a glove. --Motto of the Mackintoshes.
2. Except; besides; save.
Who can it be, ye gods! but perjured Lycon? --E. Smith.
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.”
3. Excepting or excluding the fact that; save that; were it not that; unless; -- elliptical, for but that.
And but my noble Moor is true of mind . . . it were enough to put him to ill thinking. --Shak.
4. Otherwise than that; that not; -- commonly, after a negative, with that.
It cannot be but nature hath some director, of infinite power, to guide her in all her ways. --Hooker.
There is no question but the king of Spain will reform most of the abuses. --Addison.
5. Only; solely; merely.
Observe but how their own principles combat one another. --Milton.
If they kill us, we shall but die. --2 Kings vii. 4.
A formidable man but to his friends. --Dryden.
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.
Now abideth faith hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity. --1 Cor. xiii. 13.
When pride cometh, then cometh shame; but with the lowly is wisdom. --Prov. xi. 2.
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 ░.
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.
But if, unless. [Obs.] --Chaucer.
But this I read, that but if remedy
Thou her afford, full shortly I her dead shall see. --Spenser.
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.
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.”
adv : (of actions or states) slightly short of or not quite
accomplished; `near' is sometimes used informally for
`nearly' and `most' is sometimes used informally for
`almost'; "the job is (just) about done"; "the baby was
almost asleep when the alarm sounded"; "we're almost
finished"; "the car all but ran her down"; "he nearly
fainted"; "talked for nigh onto 2 hours"; "the
recording is well-nigh perfect"; "virtually all the
parties signed the contract"; "I was near exhausted by
the run"; "most everyone agrees" [syn: about, just
about, almost, most, nearly, near, nigh, virtually,