follow Dictionary.com

Today's Word of the Day means...

unless

[uhn-les, uh n-] /ʌnˈlɛs, ən-/
conjunction
1.
except under the circumstances that:
I'll be there at nine, unless the train is late.
preposition
2.
except; but; save:
Nothing will come of it, unless disaster.
Origin
1400-1450
1400-50; late ME prepositional phrase on less (also o less(e), earlier upon less) on a lesser footing or condition (than); first used as a preposition and conjunction in the early 16th century; see on, less
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source
Examples for unless
  • Water weekly for the first few months unless there is regular rain.
  • And don't use a food processor on any potato unless you want glue.
  • There should be a law against people buying old houses unless they plan to restore them.
  • Predators typically give skunks a wide berth unless little other food is available.
  • unless you've been living in a cave, you probably haven't run across this new species of poisonous, nearly blind pseudoscorpion.
  • Avoid bringing new hiking boots unless you have time to break them in beforehand.
  • The birds pale in captivity unless their diet is supplemented.
  • We will never share your e-mail address with other organizations unless you allow us to do so.
  • Don't open the camera back unless you are in an area that is well sheltered.
  • Personalized items cannot be returned unless damaged or defective.
British Dictionary definitions for unless

unless

/ʌnˈlɛs/
conjunction
1.
(subordinating) except under the circumstances that; except on the condition that they'll sell it unless he hears otherwise
preposition
2.
(rare) except
Word Origin
C14: onlesse, from onon + lesseless; compare French à moins que, literally: at less than
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for unless
unless
1467, earlier onlesse (c.1440), from on lesse (than) "on a less condition (than)," the first syllable originally on, but the negative connotation and the lack of stress changed it to un-.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of The Day

Difficulty index for unless

Most English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for unless

6
9
Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with unless