Know why cattywampus was trending last week?


[nev-er] /ˈnɛv ər/
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.
Origin of never
before 900; Middle English; Old English nǣfre, equivalent to ne not + ǣfre ever Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for never
  • 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 side.
  • The sun never gets terribly high in the sky, but it also never sets.
  • Choosing at the seafood counter has never been more challenging.
  • Imagine if every company you had never done business with required you to opt out of their junk mailings.
  • Having never observed a stable marriage close-up, she will have to guess how to make one work.
  • Using unpurified water is not a normal practice-it's never done.
  • First of all, performers today would never do four shows a day.
  • never do in a meeting what could be handled with email.
British Dictionary definitions for never


adverb, sentence substitute
at no time; not ever
certainly not; by no means; in no case
Also well I never!. surely not!
Usage note
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
Word Origin
Old English nǣfre, from ne not + æfreever
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for never

Old English næfre "never," compound of ne "not, no" (from PIE root *ne- "no, not;" see un-) + æfre "ever" (see ever). Early used as an emphatic form of not (as still in never mind). Old English, 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."

Italian giammai, French jamais, Spanish jamas are from Latin iam "already" + magis "more;" thus literally "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 1818. Never Never Land is first attested in Australia as a name for the uninhabited northern part of Queensland (1884), perhaps so called because anyone who had gone there once never wished to return. Meaning "imaginary, illusory or utopian place" first attested 1900 in American English.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with never
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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