Meaning of “unless” in the English Dictionary

british dictionary

"unless" in British English

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uk /ənˈles/ us /ənˈles/

B1 except if:

You can't get a job unless you have experience (= you can only get a job if you have experience).
Unless you call me to say you're not coming, I'll see you at the theatre (= I will see you there if you do not call to say you are not coming).

More examples

  • A lot of shops won't accept cheques unless you have a banker's card with you.
  • They threatened to kill him unless he did as they asked.
  • Most wild animals won't attack unless they are provoked.
  • I can't let you in unless you give the password.
  • Students are not allowed to handle these chemicals unless they are under the supervision of a teacher.

(Definition of “unless” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"unless" in American English

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us /ənˌles/

used to say what will or will not happen if something else does not happen or is not true; except if:

She won’t go unless you go (= If you do not go, she will not go either, but if you go, she will go).
You can’t get a job unless you’ve got the experience (= You can only get a job if you have experience).

(Definition of “unless” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)