From Middle English nothyng, noon thing, non thing, na þing, nan thing, nan þing, from Old English nāþing, nān þing (“nothing”, literally “not any thing”), equivalent to no + thing. Compare Old English nāwiht (“nothing”, literally “no thing”), Swedish ingenting (“nothing”, literally “not any thing, no thing”).
- enPR: nŭth'ĭng, IPA(key): /ˈnʌθɪŋ/
- (informal) IPA(key): [ˈnʌʔn̩]
Audio (US) (file)
- Rhymes: -ʌθɪŋ
- Hyphenation: noth‧ing
- Rhymes: -ɪŋ
nothing (indefinite pronoun)
- Not any thing; no thing.
- 1839, Charles Dickens, Nicholas Nickleby:
- the players see little or nothing of their cards at first starting
- 1918, W[illiam] B[abington] Maxwell, chapter XIX, in The Mirror and the Lamp, Indianapolis, Ind.: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, →OCLC:
- Nothing was too small to receive attention, if a supervising eye could suggest improvements likely to conduce to the common welfare. Mr. Gordon Burnage, for instance, personally visited dust-bins and back premises, accompanied by a sort of village bailiff, going his round like a commanding officer doing billets.
- 2013 July 19, Peter Wilby, “Finland spreads word on schools”, in The Guardian Weekly, volume 189, number 6, page 30:
- Imagine a country where children do nothing but play until they start compulsory schooling at age seven. Then, without exception, they attend comprehensives until the age of 16. Charging school fees is illegal, and so is sorting pupils into ability groups by streaming or setting.
- An absence of anything, including empty space, brightness, darkness, matter, or a vacuum.
- (not any thing):
- (something trifling): nothing of any consequence, nothing consequential, nothing important, nothing significant, something inconsequential, something insignificant, something of no consequence, something trifling, something unimportant
not any thing
nothing (countable and uncountable, plural nothings)
- Something trifling, or of no consequence or importance.
- - What happened to your face?
- It's nothing.
- 1651–1653, Jer[emy] Taylor, ΕΝΙΑΥΤΟΣ [Eniautos]. A Course of Sermons for All the Sundays of the Year. […], 2nd edition, London: […] Richard Royston […], published 1655, →OCLC:
- Sermons are not like curious inquiries after new nothings, but pursuances of old truths.
- 2003, Sonic Team USA, Sonic Heroes, Sega, GameCube, PlayStation 2, Xbox, level/area: Final Fortress:
- Knuckles: The Egg Carrier is nothing compared to this!
- - What happened to your face?
- A trivial remark especially in the term sweet nothings.
- A nobody (insignificant person).
something trifling, or of no consequence or importance
a nobody, a person of no consequence
nothing (not comparable)
- (archaic) Not at all; in no way.
- 1662, Thomas Salusbury, Galileo's Dialogue Concerning the Two World Systems:
- The Motion from London to Syria is as much as nothing; and nothing altereth the relation which is between them.
Terms derived from the pronoun, noun, or adverb nothing
- better than nothing
- do nothing
- for nothing
- have nothing on (someone)
- here goes nothing
- if nothing else
- it's nothing
- leave nothing in the tank
- less than nothing
- next to nothing
- nothing at all
- nothing but
- nothing doing
- nothing for it
- nothing succeeds like success
- nothing to choose between
- there's nothing to it
- thing of nothing
- think nothing of
- think nothing of it
- you don't get something for nothing
Terms etymologically related to the pronoun, noun, or adverb nothing
- “nothing”, in The Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd edition, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1989, →ISBN.