1. on the contrary; yet: My brother went, but I did not.2. except; save: She was so overcome with grief she could do nothing but weep.3. unless; if not; except that (fol. by a clause, often with that expressed): Nothing would do but that I should come in.4. without the circumstance that: It never rains but it pours.5. otherwise than: There is no hope but by prayer.7. who not; that not: No leaders worthy of the name ever existed but they were optimists.8. (used as an intensifier to introduce an exclamatory expression): But she's beautiful!9. Informal. than: It no sooner started raining but it stopped.prep.11. with the exception of; except; save: No one replied but me.adv.12. only; just: There is but one God.13. but for, except for; were it not for: But for the excessive humidity, it might have been a pleasant day.n.14. buts, reservations or objections: You'll do as you're told, no buts about it.[bef. 900; ME buten, OE butan for phrase be utan on the outside, without. See BY, OUT]Syn. 1. BUT, HOWEVER, NEVERTHELESS, STILL, YET are words implying opposition (with a possible concession). BUT marks an opposition or contrast, though in a casual way: We are going, but we shall return. HOWEVER indicates a less marked opposition, but displays a second consideration to be compared with the first: We are going; however ("notice this also"), we shall return.NEVERTHELESS implies a concession, something which should not be forgotten in making a summing up: We are going; nevertheless ("do not forget that"), we shall return. STILL implies that in spite of a preceding concession, something must be considered as possible or even inevitable: We have to go on foot; still ("it is probable and possible that"), we'll get there. YET implies that in spite of a preceding concession, there is still a chance for a different outcome: We are going; yet ("in spite of all, some day"), we shall return. 2. See except1.Usage. 1. BUT, like and, is a common transitional word and often begins sentences. When it is used in the middle of a sentence as a coordinating conjunction like and or so, it is not followed by a comma unless the comma is one of a pair setting off a parenthetical expression: His political affiliations make no difference, but his lack of ethics does. The cast is nearly complete, but, our efforts notwithstanding, we lack a star. See also and, so1.2, 11. When BUT is understood as a conjunction and the pronoun following it is understood as the subject of an incompletely expressed clause, the pronoun is in the subjective case: Everyone lost faith in the plan but she (did not lose faith). In virtually identical contexts, when BUT is understood as a preposition, the pronoun following it is in the objective case: Everyone lost faith but her. The prepositional use is more common. However, when prepositional BUT and its following pronoun occur near the beginning of a sentence, the subjective case often appears: Everyone but she lost faith in the plan. See also doubt, than.but2/but/, n. Scot.1. the outer or front room of a house; the outer or front apartment in an apartment house.2. the kitchen of a two-room dwelling, esp. of a cottage.[1715-25; n. use of BUT1 (adv.) outside, outside the house]but3/but/butt5.
* * *