Alternative formsEdit


From Middle English withoute, withouten, from Old English wiþūtan (literally against the outside of); equivalent to with +‎ out. Compare Dutch buiten (outside of, without), Danish uden (without), Swedish utan (without), Norwegian uten (without).


  • (UK, US) IPA(key): /wɪθˈaʊt/, /wɪðˈaʊt/
  • (Canada) IPA(key): [wɪθˈɐʊt], [wɪðˈɐʊt]
  • (file)
  • (file)
  • Hyphenation: with‧out


without (not comparable)

  1. (archaic or literary) Outside, externally. This is still used in the names of some civil parishes in England, e.g. St Cuthbert Without.
    • c.1600s, William Shakespeare, Macbeth
      Macbeth: There's blood upon your face
      Murderer: 'tis Banquo's then
      Macbeth: 'tis better thee without then he within.
    • 1891, Thomas Hardy, Tess of the d'Urbervilles, volume 1, London: James R. Osgood, McIlvaine and Co., page 18:
      And as each and all of them were warmed without by the sun, so each had a private little sun for her soul to bask in; some dream, some affection, some hobby, at least some remote and distant hope which, though perhaps starving to nothing, still lived on, as hopes will.
    • 1900, Ernest Dowson, Benedictio Domini, lines 13-14
      Strange silence here: without, the sounding street
      Heralds the world's swift passage to the fire
    • 1904, Arthur Conan Doyle, The Adventure of the Golden Pince-Nez (Norton 2005, p.1100)
      I knew that someone had entered the house cautiously from without.
    • 2016, Liu Cixin, Ken Liu, transl., Death's End, Tor, translation of 死神永生, →ISBN, page 236:
      The feeling seemed to come not from without, but from within each body, as though every person had become a vibrating string.
    • 2019 December 8, Supergirl (TV series), season 5, episode 8, "Crisis on Infinite Earths":
      Brainiac: This earthquake is quite literally worldwide.
      Alex Danvers: But the seismic activity [isn't] coming from within the planet, it's coming from without.
  2. Lacking something.
    Being from a large, poor family, he learned to live without.
  3. (euphemistic) In prostitution: without a condom being worn.
    • 2012, Maxim Jakubowski, The Best British Crime Omnibus:
      “What's within reason?” “Hand-job, blow-job, full sex — straight, full service. Greek, maybe, if you're not too big. Golden shower, if you like, but not reverse. No hardsports. And absolutely nothing without.”

Derived termsEdit



  1. (archaic or literary) Outside of, beyond.
    Antonym: within
    The snow was swirling without the cottage, but it was warm within.
  2. Not having, containing, characteristic of, etc.
    Antonym: with
    It was a mistake to leave my house without a coat.
    • 1918, W. B. Maxwell, chapter 22, in The Mirror and the Lamp:
      From another point of view, it was a place without a soul. The well-to-do had hearts of stone; the rich were brutally bumptious; the Press, the Municipality, all the public men, were ridiculously, vaingloriously self-satisfied.
    • 1968 December 8, Henry Cosby; Sylvia Moy; Stevie Wonder (lyrics and music), “I’d Be a Fool Right Now”, in For Once in My Life, performed by Stevie Wonder:
      One day my dreams were surely dying, dying, dying baby
      Just like a flower without rain
    • 2013 June 29, “Travels and travails”, in The Economist, volume 407, number 8842, page 55:
      Even without hovering drones, a lurking assassin, a thumping score and a denouement, the real-life story of Edward Snowden, a rogue spy on the run, could be straight out of the cinema.
  3. Not doing or not having done something.
    He likes to eat everything without sharing.
    He shot without warning anyone.
    • 1883, Howard Pyle, The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood Chapter V
      But in the meantime Robin Hood and his band lived quietly in Sherwood Forest, without showing their faces abroad, for Robin knew that it would not be wise for him to be seen in the neighborhood of Nottingham, those in authority being very wroth with him.
    • 1892, Walter Besant, “Prologue: Who is Edmund Gray?”, in The Ivory Gate [], New York, N.Y.: Harper & Brothers, [], OCLC 16832619, page 16:
      Athelstan Arundel walked home [], foaming and raging. [] He walked the whole way, walking through crowds, and under the noses of dray-horses, carriage-horses, and cart-horses, without taking the least notice of them.



Derived termsEdit




  1. (archaic or dialectal) Unless, except (introducing a clause).
    • 1485, Sir Thomas Malory, “iij”, in Le Morte Darthur, book XV:
      And whanne this old man had sayd thus he came to one of tho knyghtes and sayd I haue lost alle that I haue sette in the / For thou hast rulyd the ageynste me as a warryour and vsed wrong werres with vayne glory more for the pleasyr of the world than to please me / therfor thow shalt be confounded withoute thow yelde me my tresour
    • 1884 December 10, Mark Twain [pseudonym; Samuel Langhorne Clemens], chapter I, in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: (Tom Sawyer’s Comrade) [], London: Chatto & Windus, [], OCLC 458431182, page 1:
      You don't know about me, without you have read a book by the name of "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer," but that ain't no matter.
    • 1913, DH Lawrence, Sons and Lovers, Penguin, 2006, p.264:
      ‘Why,’ he blurted, ‘because they say I've no right to come up like this—without we mean to marry—’