all but

Idioms & Phrases

all but

Almost, nearly, as in I've all but finished the book. This expression was used by Andrew Marvell in "Thoughts in a Garden": "Society is all but rude, To this delicious solitude." [Late 1500s]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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