Definition of But by Merriam-Webster

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We had no choice but to leave.

They’ve done nothing but argue all afternoon.


There was no one there but him.

I didn’t tell anyone but my sister.

Who but you would think that?


They have but two weeks to get ready.

she is but a child and too young to understand such things

Recent Examples on the Web: Conjunction

But scientists and doctors say things aren’t that simple — and a belief that exposing children to marijuana, either directly or indirectly, is harmless isn’t supported by the facts.

Daniel M. Jimenez, The Cannifornian, 22 June 2017

But with a full and volatile season behind them, the two have grown closer, prompting check-ins from Bradford last month, seeking tidbits from his coach who watched OTA practices on a tablet from his Kentucky retreat.

Chad Graff, Twin Cities, 15 June 2017

The tech firm didn’t pull that video down, but reached out to police.

Queenie Wong, The Mercury News, 3 May 2017

But campus leaders like Chancellor Vincent Fulginiti and many community donors had a bigger vision.

Matthew Wynia, The Denver Post, 1 May 2017

Normally a chain moving here wouldn’t pique my interest too much, but this place has got some serious fans — called ‘

Allyson Reedy, The Know, 24 Apr. 2017

The powerhouse, year-round clubs might be peaking again but the strongest undercurrents Saturday came from team connections.

Dan Albano, Orange County Register, 22 Apr. 2017

But enough do to make a significant dent in the prescription numbers.

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Christopher Ingraham, The Cannabist, 21 Apr. 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Preposition

Normally, big job losses trigger massive searches for full-time jobs, but this crisis has been anything but normal.

Paul Davidson, USA TODAY, 1 June 2020

Despite the pleas for calm, the nation seemed anything but as a fitful week drew to a close.

Robert Klemko, Washington Post, 30 May 2020

Despite the pleas for calm, the nation seemed anything but as a fitful week drew to a close.

Robert Klemko,, 29 May 2020

The Big Ten hasn’t enacted a conference-wide date but Ohio State, which is scheduled to visit Oregon a week after NDSU on Sept. 12, has said its players will begin workouts June 8.

oregonlive, 28 May 2020

These assumptions are in need of scrutiny, not by comparison with other countries but of this country with itself a few generations ago.

Marilynne Robinson, The New York Review of Books, 27 May 2020

Nick has more power but Joey is a bit more nimble — everything else is essentially equal.

John Owning, Dallas News, 27 May 2020

Some people just believe that there’s no way but to just fight back.

Chris Buckley, New York Times, 15 May 2020

Facebook has no option but to get its act together in India.

Ananya Bhattacharya, Quartz India, 23 Apr. 2020

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

The narrative thrust hangs on the hook of a seemingly ordinary American family ending up in a situation that’s anything but, and the enterprise is to figure out what exactly happened.

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Nicholas Quah, Vulture, 5 Jan. 2021

Mahomes likely won’t get but deserves the MVP award after overcoming a slightly tougher road than Rodgers to get his conference’s top seed.

Tom Krasovic, San Diego Union-Tribune, 28 Dec. 2020

Anyone meeting its representatives and leaders cannot but be impressed by their knowledge, education, and intelligence.

Douglas Carr, National Review, 14 Sep. 2020

Pliskova jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the second set, and while Wozniacki held her serve, Pliskova did not let up, winning all of her first serve points and all but two on her second serve.

Alexa Philippou,, 19 Aug. 2017

The controversies of this presidency have made bipartisan cooperation all but impossible, and there is not enough unity among Republicans to pass politically charged legislation on a partisan basis.

James Capretta, National Review, 19 Aug. 2017

However, according to reports from Argentine journalist Lucas Ajuria on Twitter, Simeone’s future at Genoa is all but over, and Spurs are set to scrap it out with Serie A side Fiorentina for the player’s signature., 2 Aug. 2017

By 5 p.m. Tuesday, some 1,200 workers, including tree and line crews from KCP&L and other utilities, had restored power to all but 2,400 customers.

Lily O’neill,
Shane Sanderson,
And Lily Oppenheimer, kansascity, 25 July 2017

The Bilali Document is a reminder of a history all but forgotten.

Meilan Solly, Smithsonian, 15 July 2017

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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

But there was a but of confusion from the judges and fans at home.

Leah Rocketto, Woman’s Day, 29 Oct. 2020

But even the tech titans have lots of shrugs and buts.

Shira Ovide, New York Times, 1 May 2020

That way there’s no ifs, ands or buts about what’s going on.

Bobby Nightengale,, 4 Mar. 2020

Ohio State yeah-buts teams like Rutgers all the time.

Doug Lesmerises,, 16 Sep. 2019

Investor advocates have long wanted one set of rules to apply to both advisors and brokers: that anyone handling money put investors’ interests first, with no ifs, ands or buts.

Barry Ritholtz,, 24 June 2019

As for consumers who still subscribe to traditional cable and for whom these streaming services are just additive, there are no ifs, ands, or buts about it: the monthly fees are mounting.

Samuel Axon, Ars Technica, 10 Oct. 2018

Le meneur de jeu espagnol a marqué 10 buts et a offert 18 passes décisives cette saison., 17 Apr. 2018

Weigh-in daily No ifs, ands, or buts, about it, get on the scale.

Kimberly Garrison,, 1 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word ‘but.’ Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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