not ever; at no time: Such an idea never occurred to me.
not at all; absolutely not: never mind; This will never do.
to no extent or degree: He was never the wiser for his experience.
never mind, don't bother; don't concern yourself.

before 900; Middle English; Old English nǣfre, equivalent to ne not + ǣfre ever Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
never (ˈnɛvə)
adv, —sentence substitute
1.  at no time; not ever
2.  certainly not; by no means; in no case
3.  Also: well I never! surely not!
usage  In informal speech and writing, never can be used instead of not with the simple past tenses of certain verbs for emphasis (I never said that; I never realized how clever he was), but this usage should be avoided in serious writing

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

O.E. næfre, compound of ne "not, no" (from PIE base *ne- "no, not;" see un-) + æfre "ever." Early used as an emphatic form of not (as still in never mind). O.E., unlike its modern descendant, had the useful custom of attaching ne to words to create their negatives,
as in nabban for na habban "not to have." It. giammai, Fr. jamais, Sp. jamas are from L. iam "already" + magis "more;" thus lit. "at any time, ever," originally with a negative, but this has been so thoroughly absorbed in sense as to be formally omitted. Phrase never say die "don't despair" is from 1865, originally among sailors. Never mind "pay it no attention" is from 1795. Never Never Land is first attested in Australia as a name for the uninhabited northern part of Queensland, perhaps so called because anyone who had gone there once never wished to return. Meaning "imaginary, illusory or utopian place" first attested 1900 in Amer.Eng.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases


In addition to the idioms beginning with never, also see better late than never; it never rains but it pours; lightning never strikes twice; now or never; watched pot never boils; wonders will never cease; you never can tell.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Example sentences
At many colleges and universities, what never got built is almost as
  interesting as what did.
Economists theorized that markets were self-regulating and created the illusion
  that greed was never a problem.
In other words, our planet never stands upright-it is always leaning to the
The sun never gets terribly high in the sky, but it also never sets.
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