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From: Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913)

 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.”