better than nothing meaning, better than nothing definition | English Cobuild dictionary



  ( nothings    plural  )
1       pron   Nothing means not a single thing, or not a single part of something.  
I've done nothing much since coffee time..., Mr Pearson said he knew nothing of his wife's daytime habits..., He was dressed in jeans and nothing else..., There is nothing wrong with the car.     
2       pron   You use nothing to indicate that something or someone is not important or significant.  
Because he had always had money it meant nothing to him..., While the increase in homicides is alarming, it is nothing compared to what is to come in the rest of the decade..., She kept bursting into tears over nothing at work..., Do our years together mean nothing?     
      Nothing is also a noun., n-count   usu sing  
It is the picture itself that is the problem; so small, so dull. It's a nothing, really...     
3       pron   If you say that something cost nothing or is worth nothing, you are indicating that it cost or is worth a surprisingly small amount of money.  
The furniture was threadbare; he'd obviously picked it up for nothing..., Homes in this corner of Mantua that once went for $350,000 are now worth nothing.     
4       pron   You use nothing before an adjective or `to'-infinitive to say that something or someone does not have the quality indicated.  
PRON adj, PRON to-inf  
Around the lake the countryside generally is nothing special..., There was nothing remarkable about him..., All kids her age do silly things; it's nothing to worry about.     
5       pron   You can use nothing before `so' and an adjective or adverb, or before a comparative, to emphasize how strong or great a particular quality is.  
PRON so adj/adv, PRON compar     (emphasis)    Youngsters learn nothing so fast as how to beat the system..., I consider nothing more important in my life than songwriting..., There's nothing better than a good cup of hot coffee.     
6    You can use all or nothing to say that either something must be done fully and completely or else it cannot be done at all.  
all or nothing      phrase   v-link PHR  
Either he went through with this thing or he did not; it was all or nothing.     
7    If you say that something is better than nothing, you mean that it is not what is required, but that it is better to have that thing than to have nothing at all.  
better than nothing             phrase   v-link PHR  
After all, 15 minutes of exercise is better than nothing.     
8    You use nothing but in front of a noun, an infinitive without `to', or an `-ing' form to mean `only'.  
nothing but      phrase   PHR n/inf/-ing  
All that money brought nothing but sadness and misery and tragedy..., It did nothing but make us ridiculous..., They care for nothing but fighting.     
9    If you say that there is nothing for it but to take a particular action, you mean that it is the only possible course of action that you can take, even though it might be unpleasant.  
there is nothing for it      phrase   V inflects, PHR but to-inf, PHR but n  
Much depends on which individual ingredients you choose. There is nothing for it but to taste and to experiment for yourself...     
10    You use nothing if not in front of an adjective to indicate that someone or something clearly has a lot of the particular quality mentioned.  
nothing if not      phrase   v-link PHR adj     (emphasis)    Professor Fish has been nothing if not professional...     
11    People sometimes say `It's nothing' as a polite response after someone has thanked them for something they have done.  
it's nothing      convention  
(=don't mention it)  
`Thank you for the wonderful dinner.'<emdash10001`It's nothing,' Sarah said..., `I'll be on my way. I can't thank you enough, Alan.'<emdash>`It was nothing, but take care.'     
12    If you say about a story or report that there is nothing in it or nothing to it, you mean that it is untrue.  
nothing in it/nothing to it      phrase   there v-link PHR  
It's all rubbish and superstition, and there's nothing in it.     
13    If you say about an activity that there is nothing to it or nothing in it, you mean that it is extremely easy.  
nothing to it/nothing in it      phrase   there v-link PHR  
This device has a gripper that electrically twists off the jar top. Nothing to it..., If you've shied away from making pancakes in the past, don't be put off<endash>there's really nothing in it!     
14    If you say about a contest or competition that there is nothing in it, you mean that two or more of the competitors are level and have an equal chance of winning.  
nothing in it      phrase   there v-link PHR  
15    Nothing of the sort is used when strongly contradicting something that has just been said.  
nothing of the sort      phrase   PHR after v, v-link PHR     (emphasis)    `We're going to talk this over in my office.'<emdash10001`We're going to do nothing of the sort.'..., Mrs Adamson said that she was extremely sorry, in tones that made it clear that she was nothing of the sort.     
    sweet nothings  
    nothing to write home about  
    to say nothing of  
    nothing short of  
    to stop at nothing  
    to think nothing of  
Translation English - Cobuild Collins Dictionary  



1    bigger, excelling, finer, fitter, greater, higher-quality, larger, more appropriate, more desirable, more expert, more fitting, more suitable, more useful, more valuable, preferable, streets ahead, superior, surpassing, worthier  
2    cured, fitter, fully recovered, healthier, improving, less ill, mending, more healthy, on the mend     (informal)   progressing, recovering, stronger, well  
3    bigger, greater, larger, longer  
4    in a more excellent manner, in a superior way, more advantageously, more attractively, more competently, more completely, more effectively, more thoroughly, to a greater degree  
5    advance, ameliorate, amend, correct, enhance, forward, further, improve, meliorate, mend, promote, raise, rectify, reform  
6    beat, cap     (informal)   clobber     (slang)   exceed, excel, improve on or upon, knock spots off     (informal)   lick     (informal)   outdo, outstrip, put in the shade     (informal)   run rings around     (informal)   surpass, top  
7    get the better of      beat, best, defeat, get the upper hand, outdo, outsmart     (informal)   outwit, prevail over, score off, surpass, triumph over, worst  
,       adj  
1 & 3    inferior, lesser, smaller, substandard, worse  
2    worse  
      adv   worse  
5    depress, devaluate, go downhill, impoverish, lessen, lower, weaken, worsen  

English Collins Dictionary - English synonyms & Thesaurus  

Collaborative Dictionary     English Cobuild
humorous term for soulmate, partner, spouse
very little; very few; said to indicate that something is in a low amount/quantity or insignificant
E.g. You weigh like nothing; It costs like nothing; It is a big deal, but you make it look like nothing.
not matter; have no value or effect; be useless
very imposing or impressive
expression used when nothing is going well
This expression means it is better to let one's emotions out, rather than bottled up inside. It is also often said when someone has gas.
this is just something my grandmother would say in cajun french
change something into something better
Jesus can fanute water into wine.
undesirable, at much lower standards than expected
synonym for "shitty"
the carrot is more effective than the stick
maximum; no more (or later) than; at the most
E.g.: You have to be back at 11 o'clock tops; The show lasted one hour tops
a person with more power or authority than others
Eg.: Your father is one of the dominant man in his section because he is boss.
You say 'top that!' when you have achieved something and you want to challenge other people to do better
I know four celebrities - top that!
used to point out that small problems or unpleasant events can in the end help things get better
A currency coin worth $1.00 in Canada. Bigger than a quarter but smaller than a tooney.
looney also can mean strange or weird. ex.He had always been a little bit looney.
The actual say is: "You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar" This means that it is easier to persuade people if you use polite arguments and flattery than if you are confrontational.
At a point where you know you have to make a decision that not only effects your life, not only the life of the objects you love but the ones that you consider as well. More than one crux will certainly cause an individual to have a dilemma or two.
A culture of internet only jobs has coined the phrase Wirk. Wirk simply means Internet Work. Internet work is defined by job opportunities that did not exist before the rise of the internet and furthermore the work is likely to be carried out over the internet and payment received for work undertaken via the internet. Wirk describes both full time and part time internet work. Because of the nature of Wirk and the ability for anyone that has internet connection to earn money from Wirk, it is currently more likely to be a part time occupation than full time. Paid Online Questionnaires, Content Writing, Search Marketing are all examples of Wirk.
This is a term rising in popularity
(in neomarxist thought) the second main exploitive social class: The bourgeoisie of formation. The members of the formoisie have human capital, receive high wages (the most frequently thanks to their diplomas) and consume more than the world GDP. (neologism 1993 Yanick Toutain)
[Hum. Sc.] The formoisie is the social class that created social-democracy and stalinism.
a person who prefers to interact with his/her Google glasses rather than communicating with people in real life
(in neomarxist thought) the third main exploitive social class: The bourgeoisie of innovation. The members of the innovoisie have usually human innovating capital. They receive (as individuals) copyrights or patent rights and consume more than the world GDP. (neologism 1996 Yanick Toutain)
The acquisition of a startup primarily for the team and talent, rather than for the technology or product.
an ambitious woman who thinks her career really matters more than many things and is not willing to compromise on it
a business model in which goods or services are shared, swapped, or rented over networks, rather than being owned by individuals
Ex: Airbnb, the peer-to-peer accomodation marketplace Related to the concept of "sharing economy"


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"Collins Cobuild English Dictionary for Advanced Learners 4th edition published in 2003 © HarperCollins Publishers 1987, 1995, 2001, 2003 and Collins A-Z Thesaurus 1st edition first published in 1995 © HarperCollins Publishers 1995"