Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “but”

but

conjunction uk   strong /bʌt/ weak /bət/ us  
A1 used to introduce an added statement, usually something that is different from what you have said before: She's very hard-working but not very imaginative. This is not caused by evil, but by simple ignorance. The play's good, but not that good - I've seen better. I'm sorry, but I think you're wrong when you say she did it deliberately. Call me old-fashioned, but I like handwritten letters. I can understand his unhappiness. But to attempt suicide! "She said she's leaving." "But why?" You can invite Keith to the party, but please don't ask that friend of his. We must not complain about the problem, but (= instead we must) help to put it right. She's not a painter but a writer (= she is a writer, not a painter). She's not only a painter but also a writer (= she is both). He said he hadn't been there, but then (= it is not surprising that) he would say that. I think it's true, but then (= it should be understood that), I'm no expert.Connecting words which express a contrast

but

preposition, conjunction uk   strong /bʌt/ weak /bət/ us  
B1 except: Eventually, all but one of them promised to come to his leaving party. He's anything but violent (= not violent in any way). I'd have crashed the car but for your warning. This is the last episode but one (= one before the last) of this drama serial. She's one of those guests who does nothing but complain. This car has been nothing but trouble - it's always breaking down!Excluding

but

but

noun uk   strong /bʌt/ weak /bət/ us  
no buts (about it) used to emphasize that something will happen even if the person you are talking to does not want it to: We're going to visit your aunt tomorrow and there'll be no buts about it.Complaining
(Definition of but from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
What is the pronunciation of but?
Browse related topics

You are looking at an entry to do with Excluding, but you might be interested in these topics from the Including and excluding topic area:

Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

Definitions of “but” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day

roost

When birds roost, they go somewhere to rest or sleep.

Word of the Day

Blog

Read our blog about how the English language behaves.

Learn More

New Words

Find words and meanings that have just started to be used in English, and let us know what you think of them.

Learn More