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

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  ( 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.'—`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  
better     ( betters    plural & 3rd person present)   ( bettering    present participle)   ( bettered    past tense & past participle  )
1    Better is the comparative of good.  
2    Better is the comparative of well.  
3       adv   If you like one thing betterthan another, you like it more.  
ADV after v  
I like your interpretation better than the one I was taught..., They liked it better when it rained.     
4       adj   If you are better after an illness or injury, you have recovered from it. If you feel better, you no longer feel so ill.  
v-link ADJ  
He is much better now, he's fine..., The doctors were saying there wasn't much hope of me getting better.     
5       phrase   You use had better or 'd better when you are advising, warning, or threatening someone, or expressing an opinion about what should happen.  
It's half past two. I think we had better go home..., You'd better run if you're going to get your ticket...     
      In spoken English, people sometimes use better without `had' or `be' before it. It has the same meaning.  
Better not say too much aloud.     
6       pron   If you say that you expect or deserve better, you mean that you expect or deserve a higher standard of achievement, behaviour, or treatment from people than they have shown you.  
Our long-suffering mining communities deserve better than this.     
7       verb   If someone betters a high achievement or standard, they achieve something higher.  
He recorded a time of 4 minutes 23, bettering the old record of 4-24...      V n  
8       verb   If you better your situation, you improve your social status or the quality of your life. If you betteryourself, you improve your social status.  
He had dedicated his life to bettering the lot of the oppressed people of South Africa...      V n  
Our parents chose to come here with the hope of bettering themselves.      V pron-refl  
9    Better is used to form the comparative of compound adjectives beginning with `good' and `well.' For example, the comparative of `well-off' is `better-off.'  
10    You can say that someone is better doing one thing than another, or it is better doing one thing than another, to advise someone about what they should do.  
be better doing sth/it is better doing sth      phrase   V inflects, PHR -ing, PHR -ed  
Wouldn't it be better putting a time-limit on the task?..., Subjects like this are better left alone.     
11    If something changes for the better, it improves.  
for the better      phrase   PHR after v  
He dreams of changing the world for the better.     
12    If a feeling such as jealousy, curiosity, or anger gets the better of you, it becomes too strong for you to hide or control.  
to get the better of sb      phrase   V inflects, PHR n  
She didn't allow her emotions to get the better of her.     
13    If you get the better of someone, you defeat them in a contest, fight, or argument.  
to get the better of sb      phrase   V inflects, PHR n  
He is used to tough defenders, and he usually gets the better of them.     
14    If someone knows betterthan to do something, they are old enough or experienced enough to know it is the wrong thing to do.  
to know better      phrase   V inflects, oft PHR than to-inf  
She knew better than to argue with Adeline...     
15    If you know betterthan someone, you have more information, knowledge, or experience than them.  
to know better      phrase   V inflects, oft PHR than n  
He thought he knew better than I did, though he was much less experienced...     
16    If you say that someone would be better off doing something, you are advising them to do it or expressing the opinion that it would benefit them to do it.  
be better off      phrase   PHR -ing/prep/adv  
If you've got bags you're better off taking a taxi...     
17    If you go one better, you do something better than it has been done before or obtain something better than someone else has.  
go one better      phrase   V inflects, oft PHR than n  
Now General Electric have gone one better than nature and made a diamond purer than the best quality natural diamonds.     
18    You say `That's better' in order to express your approval of what someone has said or done, or to praise or encourage them.  
that's better      convention  
`I came to ask your advice<endash>no, to ask for your help.'—`That's better. And how can I help you?'     
19    You can say `so much the better' or `all the better' to indicate that it is desirable that a particular thing is used, done, or available.  
all/so much the better      phrase  
Use strong white flour, and if you can get hold of durum wheat flour, then so much the better...     
20    You can use expressions like `The bigger the better' or `The sooner the better' to say that you would prefer it if something is big or happens soon.  
the bigger/sooner/smaller etc the better      phrase  
The Irish love a party, the bigger the better...     
21    If you intend to do something and then think better of it, you decide not to do it because you realize it would not be sensible.  
to think better of it      phrase   V inflects  
Alberg opened his mouth, as if to protest. But he thought better of it.     
22    If you say that something has happened or been done for better or worse, you mean that you are not sure whether the consequences will be good or bad, but they will have to be accepted because the action cannot be changed.  
for better or (for) worse      phrase   PHR after v, PHR with cl  
I married you for better or worse, knowing all about these problems.     
    against your better judgment  
    to be better than nothing  
    the better part  

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
change something into something better
Jesus can fanute water into wine.
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
expression used when nothing is going well
undesirable, at much lower standards than expected
synonym for "shitty"
the carrot is more effective than the stick
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
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