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Webster 1913 Edition


Unless

Un-less′

,
c
onj.
[Formerly,
onles
,
onlesse
,
onlesse that
, that is, in less, in a less case. See
On
, and
Less
.]
Upon any less condition than (the fact or thing stated in the sentence or clause which follows); if not; supposing that not; if it be not; were it not that; except;
as, we shall fail
unless
we are industrious
.
☞ By the omission of the verb in the dependent clause, unless was frequently used prepositionally, – a construction common in Shakespeare and still employed colloquially.
Here nothing breeds
unless
the nightly owl.
Shakespeare

Webster 1828 Edition


Unless

UNLESS'

, conj.
Except; that is, remove or dismiss the fact or thing stated in the sentence or clause which follows. 'We cannot thrive unless we are industrious and frugal.' the sense will be more obvious with the clauses of the sentence inverted. Unless, [remove this fact, suppose it not to exist,] we are industrious and frugal, we cannot thrive. Unless then answers for a negation. If we are not industrious, we cannot thrive.

Definition 2022


unless

unless

English

Alternative forms

Conjunction

unless

  1. Except on a specified condition; if not.
    I’m leaving unless I get a pay rise (AmE: raise).
    • 1971, Dr. Seuss, The Lorax:
      Unless someone like you...cares a whole awful lot...nothing is going to get better...It's not.
    • 1839, Denison Olmsted, A Compendium of Astronomy Page 95
      Secondly, When a body is once in motion it will continue to move forever, unless something stops it. When a ball is struck on the surface of the earth, the friction of the earth and the resistance of the air soon stop its motion.

Antonyms

  • (except on a condition): if

Derived terms

Translations

Statistics

Most common English words before 1923: distance · thinking · beginning · #628: unless · seeing · won't · plain