nothing ( 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 →
good-for-nothing ( good-for-nothings plural ) If you describe someone as good-for-nothing, you think that they are lazy or irresponsible. adj ADJ n
...a good-for-nothing fourteen-year-old son who barely knows how to read and count.
Good-for-nothing is also a noun., n-count