any thing whatever; something, no matter what: Do you have anything for a toothache?
a thing of any kind.
in any degree; to any extent; in any way; at all: Does it taste anything like chocolate?
anything but, in no degree or respect; not in the least: The plans were anything but definite.
anything goes, any type of conduct, dress, speech, etc., is considered acceptable or valid or is likely to be encountered and tolerated: That resort is a place where anything goes!

before 900; Middle English ani thing, eni thing, Old English ǣnig thing. See any, thing1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
anything (ˈɛnɪˌθɪŋ)
1.  any object, event, action, etc, whatever: anything might happen
2.  a thing of any kind: have you anything to declare?
3.  in any way: he wasn't anything like his father
4.  anything but by no means; not in the least: she was anything but happy
5.  like anything (intensifier; usually euphemistic): he ran like anything

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

late O.E., from any + thing. But O.E. ænig þinga apparently meant "somehow, anyhow" (glossing L. quoquo modo). Anythingarian (c.1704, originally dismissive) was a word for "one indifferent to religious creeds" (on model of trinitarian, unitarian, etc.).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases


In addition to the idioms beginning with anything, also see can't do anything with; if anything; like anything; not anything like.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Example sentences
As a caver you never come across anything this vast.
Still the focal point of many interior living spaces, the latest fireplaces
  look anything but traditional.
Yet when it comes to neuroscience, no government or treaty stops anything.
But because an animal wags its tail and eats, nobody thinks there's anything
  wrong-not even to get into these big exotic animals.
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