not Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary Cambridge dictionaries logo

Meaning of “not” in the English Dictionary

"not" in British English

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notadverb

uk   /nɒt/  us   /nɑːt/
A1 used to ​form a ​negative phrase after ​verbs like "be", "can", "have", "will", "must", etc., usually used in the ​shortform "n't" in ​speech: He's not ​fat! I won't ​tell her. I can't go. Don't you like her? It isn't hard (= it is ​easy). I'm just not ​interested. He's not bad-looking (= he is ​fairlyattractive). He's not astall as his ​father.A1 used to give the next word or ​group of words a ​negativemeaning: I told you not to do that. I like most ​vegetables but not ​cabbage. "Come and ​play, Dad." "Not now, Jamie." It was Yuko who said that, not Richard.A2 used after ​verbs like "be ​afraid", "​hope", "​suspect", etc. in ​short, ​negativereplies: "Is he coming with us?" "I ​hope not." "Are you done?" "I'm ​afraid not."if not A2 used to say what the ​situation will be if something does not ​happen: I ​hope to ​see you there but, if not, I'll ​call you.or not A2 used to ​express the ​possibility that something might not ​happen: Are you going to ​reply or not? I still don't ​know whether she's coming or not. humorous sometimes used at the end of a ​statement to show that you did not ​mean what you have said: That was the ​bestmeal I've ​ever had - not!

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Grammar
(Definition of not from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"not" in American English

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notadverb [not gradable]

 us   /nɑt/
used to make a word or ​group of words ​negative, or to give a word or words an ​oppositemeaning: Her ​life was not ​happy. If it’s not yours, whose is it? He’s not bad-looking (= He is ​attractive). She was not only an ​excellentteacher but (also) a ​brilliantresearcher (= she was both these things). Not that I ​mind (= I do not ​mind), but why didn’t you ​callyesterday?not-too-distant Not-too-distant refers to a ​time in the near ​future or ​recent past: They ​plan to have ​children in the not-too-distant ​future.
(Definition of not from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
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