Definition of not in English:

not

adverb

  • 1Used with an auxiliary verb or ‘be’ to form the negative:

    ‘he would not say’
    ‘she isn't there’
    ‘didn't you tell me?’
    • ‘Boozers in three of the area's busiest pubs will not be allowed to have a fag with their pint from next year.’
    • ‘Here was someone who did not allow the horrific hand of commercialism to dilute his message.’
    • ‘We're not even allowed to put satellite dishes up but they're putting up a massive tower.’
    • ‘And she was not allowed to leave the building through the front door for most of the day.’
    • ‘Now it turns out that certain people were not allowing him to do what he judged was best.’
    • ‘We feel developers should not be allowed to get away with extensions like this.’
    • ‘The charity has said it may have to look for a site outside the county if work is not allowed to go ahead at the country park.’
    • ‘Kimberley was not allowed on the main road, but had decided to tag along on her pink mountain bike.’
    • ‘Showmans Guild will not be allowed to change terms and conditions of membership.’
    • ‘On what grounds Pilger is supposed to be disturbed we are not allowed to know.’
    • ‘I feel saddened that we live in a society where innocent mistakes are not allowed.’
    • ‘Not only are we not allowed to cycle any more, we are not allowed to ride the trams either.’
    • ‘Anyone deemed unfit to travel due to alcohol will not be allowed on the coach.’
    • ‘Wilmut and his team insist they will not allow the cloned embryos to develop beyond an early stage.’
    • ‘They expressed a wish to do a parachute jump from the tower then but were not allowed.’
    • ‘I will not allow my extremely young Juliet to have caffeine before the performance.’
    • ‘The police claim that the jury was not allowed to hear much important evidence.’
    • ‘We know how dangerous the volcano is and we must not allow it to claim any more lives.’
    • ‘The court would not have allowed her release if she was a risk to the public.’
    • ‘Having been out of the team for so long, he will not allow himself to rely on this change of fortune lasting.’
    1. 1.1 Used in some constructions with other verbs:
      [with infinitive] ‘he has been warned not to touch’
      ‘the pain of not knowing’
      ‘she not only wrote the text but also researched the photographs’
      • ‘However, Lisa comes right back on the offensive and warns her not to say a thing.’
      • ‘Families on an estate have been warned not to do any gardening after a toxic waste alert.’
      • ‘Scotland's public galleries seem determined not to allow such a situation to recur.’
      • ‘They told me to keep mother and baby warm and not to touch the umbilical cord.’
      • ‘It is warning consumers not to forget about these charges when they choose a credit card.’
      • ‘We were warned not to use the upper floor as it was considered unsafe and was closed to the public.’
      • ‘His civil servants have been warned not to ask him to do anything sedentary on July 2.’
      • ‘Waldi warns us not to set up our beds outside the camp tonight as hyenas and jackals prowl this area.’
      • ‘When her neighbours heard her screaming in pain, they decided not to get involved.’
      • ‘They have recognised the need to save and reopen the Odeon, not to allow it to be replaced by a herb garden.’
      • ‘In Lima, a Peruvian guide warned us not to go out on foot and, if so, to walk briskly.’
      • ‘That should warn people not to write us off but it should also serve as a reminder to our own fans.’
      • ‘I have been given a sign today, and it would be remiss of me not to warn the rest of you.’
      • ‘Members of the public are warned not to try to coax down the eagle themselves.’
      • ‘The doctor admitted she had forgotten to warn me not to fly soon after a procedure.’
      • ‘The supervisor warned me not to use my phone in the store, but said nothing about me being fired.’
      • ‘A spokeswoman for the Environment Agency urged the public not to touch any dead fish.’
      • ‘He came over to the UK, but Warner in London warned him not to go south of the river.’
      • ‘Young people are warned not to give out any personal details that could be used to identify them.’
      • ‘You are warned not to touch the banisters in the empty, crumbling flats of Craigmillar.’
  • 2Used as a short substitute for a negative clause:

    ‘maybe I'll regret it, but I hope not’
    ‘‘Don't you keep in touch?’ ‘I'm afraid not’’
    ‘they wouldn't know if I was telling the truth or not’
    • ‘I will be a hundred years old before they decide whether they actually want to develop it, or not.’
    • ‘I'm not knocking the luckless officer, who is going to be in trouble whether or not he had a beer.’
    • ‘We've got to start making changes to the way we live, whether we like it or not.’
    • ‘The days are gone when I am going to get nervous about games or worry about whether or not I play well.’
    • ‘Regardless of whether or not you work from home, a small study area is a useful addition to a property.’
    • ‘I will be making my decision on whether to stand for Mayor or not in the next few weeks.’
    • ‘I don't go out much, I just sit at home and wait to hear if she's at the unit or not.’
    • ‘The system is so complicated that if people are awarded a credit, there is no way of knowing if it is right or not.’
    • ‘It took me forever to decide whether or not I wanted to post a weekend post on my blog.’
    • ‘All incidents where glass was damaged were included whether reported to the police or not.’
    • ‘It's been reported that he also looks after a lady, whether he knows her or not.’
    • ‘The question isn't really whether editors can be granted copyright for their work or not.’
    • ‘One thing we can all be sure is being collected, part of the village or not, is our council tax each month.’
    • ‘Still in two minds, though I think it might end up depending on whether it's raining or not.’
    • ‘Brain damage or not, she was going to walk, talk and get her life back on track.’
    • ‘Believe it or not, there are people out there who think we need more television.’
    • ‘Travel pages disclose if the writer was a guest of the organizers of the tour or not.’
    • ‘It doesn't really matter if you like the movie or not, just going for the ride is a hoot.’
    • ‘I can assure you, like it or not, I will post often and certainly more than just five times!’
    • ‘Mum Allison is hoping to hear news today on whether or not she can donate bone marrow to Joshua.’
  • 3Used to express the negative of other words:

    ‘not a single attempt was made’
    ‘treating the symptoms and not the cause’
    ‘‘How was it?’ ‘Not so bad.’’
    • ‘It was one of those situations where we needed a reaction within two days, not ten days.’
    • ‘One in particular could have had a really bad outcome had it not been for a smoke alarm.’
    • ‘I have a friend who likes even my bad sermons, but not even he liked my sermon that day.’
    • ‘Often it is not possible for everyone to agree to stay in jail for solidarity purposes.’
    • ‘Familiarity with No Angel makes it not surprising at all that she usually writes in bed.’
    • ‘My father joined me the next day and we not surprisingly returned to the same area.’
    • ‘Instead, it is moving in reverse, which to American minds must be worse than not moving at all.’
    • ‘She sighed and got to her feet, not remembering how she had gotten to bed in the early hours of the morning.’
    • ‘The blue haired girl stood in silence not hearing a single word the doctor had just spoke.’
    • ‘Working conditions should surely be the same for everyone and not just a chosen few.’
    • ‘The most common is to label everyone who is not obviously a slave or a free man a serf.’
    • ‘The widening powers of the state were agreed to be beneficial not only in wartime but in peace as well.’
    • ‘The ball struck him and the referee then dismissed him for not retreating ten yards.’
    • ‘There wasn't a single bad performance all night, not a single dropped note or missed key.’
    • ‘As a result, he was getting through a not insignificant quantity of opiates to handle the pain.’
    • ‘To her surprise he not only replies but also invites her to interview him at his house.’
    • ‘Beattie can be a belligerent figure, quick of feet but not always of mind on the pitch.’
    • ‘So sit back and watch the gang as they grow up, but not apart, ten years in the future.’
    • ‘For more than an hour, I sat with an empty cup and not one single passer-by even glanced at me.’
    • ‘Drugs are very, very dangerous, not because they are bad, but because they are good.’
    1. 3.1 Used with a quantifier to exclude a person or part of a group:
      ‘not all the poems are serious’
      • ‘It sounds perfectly reasonable, but not everyone in Australia will see it that way.’
      • ‘Don't let bad reviews get you down because not everyone is going to like your music!’
      • ‘So not everyone who called themselves a fascist was one in the sense in which we are interested.’
      • ‘My point here is that not everyone is like you or I or the rest of this messy site.’
      • ‘However, not everyone is in favour of the move away from more traditional schemes.’
      • ‘There are the large venues, but not everyone has hundreds of friends and relatives.’
      • ‘The results indicate that not all functional elements have the same accuracy order.’
      • ‘There was a difference between the two, and not everyone could clearly detect it.’
      • ‘However convincing, not everyone is won over by the results of the gender research.’
      • ‘Krause maintains that not everyone joins the Friends or stays a member for the same reason.’
      • ‘Due to this decline not everyone will be infected before the disease dies out.’
      • ‘It might have been the gig of this year or any other, but not everyone was in thrall to the bands.’
      • ‘Remember though it is a skill and not everyone needs to learn, don't obsess about it!’
      • ‘Everyone wants a new school, but not everyone believes the chosen site is the right one.’
      • ‘Please realise that not everyone in this country is as ignorant or shallow as these people.’
      • ‘In an increasingly mobile world, not everyone has a fixed desktop on which to place one.’
      • ‘Given that they sold very quickly, it is clear not everyone wants to live in the suburbs.’
      • ‘I think she is a brave woman because not everyone is sympathetic to domestic violence.’
    2. 3.2 No more than (used to indicate a surprisingly small quantity):
      ‘the brakes went on not ten feet from him’
      • ‘The creak of a loose floorboard made her turn in distress to see the man not ten feet from her.’
      • ‘And that thing that you put down not ten minutes ago should shout, so you can find it.’
  • 4Used in understatements to suggest that the opposite of a following word or phrase is true:

    ‘the not too distant future’
    ‘not a million miles away’
    • ‘In the not too distant future, I can see a time when we have another bubble waiting to burst.’
    • ‘They are not a million miles away from being good enough to lift a trophy or break into the top six or seven in the league.’
    • ‘It sounds unlikely, but it's not a million miles from the situation in the visual arts.’
    • ‘The film clearly states a bleak depiction of man versus machine in the not too distant future.’
    • ‘We will certainly be seeking to take out a warrant in the not too distant future.’
    • ‘No doubt I will be back the area in the not too distant future and I will be able to fish Tree Meadow again.’
    • ‘The story goes that London is invaded by demons in the not too distant future.’
    • ‘This is an exhibition of ideas and what could be in the not so distant future.’
    • ‘So if anyone fancies an obscure trip in the not too distant future, just let me know.’
    • ‘I look forward to us all getting together again sometime in the not too distant future.’
    disinclined, reluctant, averse, loath, indisposed, not in the mood, slow, not about
    View synonyms
    1. 4.1informal, humorous Following and emphatically negating a statement:
      ‘that sounds like quality entertainment—not’

noun

often NOT
Electronics
  • 1A Boolean operator with only one variable that has the value one when the variable is zero and vice versa.

    1. 1.1 A circuit which produces an output signal only when there is not a signal on its input.

adjective

Art
  • (of paper) not hot-pressed, and having a slightly textured surface.

Phrases

  • not at all

    • 1Definitely not:

      ‘‘You don't mind?’ ‘Not at all.’’
      • ‘Bearing this in mind, it is not at all surprising that charges of abuse of process gained momentum.’
      • ‘Except that he was not at all, not even remotely, for a single second, funny.’
      • ‘I hasten to add that it is not that we want to pay more for our groceries - not at all.’
      • ‘The parents are terrified, their fears not at all eased by being referred to a brain surgeon.’
      • ‘The air between them was still hot with passion and their minds were not at all set on school.’
      • ‘It is not at all what I had expected: but then, most people have no idea what asparagus looks like when it is growing.’
      • ‘I thrive on this time of year and do not at all mind the darkening of the days.’
      • ‘This is not at all what a government website for the promotion of a nation's tourism should look like.’
      • ‘In Louisbourg, a few people had flooding problems, but not at all on the scale of other areas.’
      • ‘I do not at all mind if Will somehow finds this out, but I met many a fine young man that afternoon.’
      not at all, in no way, not in the least, not in the slightest, not the least bit, not by a long shot, certainly not, absolutely not, definitely not, on no account, under no circumstances
      View synonyms
    • 2Used as a polite response to thanks.

  • not but what

    • archaic Nevertheless:

      ‘not but what the picture has its darker side’
      • ‘I'm thinking he'll be sorry to see our backs, not but what he'd cut his throat sooner than admit it!’
  • not half

    • 1Not nearly:

      ‘he is not half such a fool as they thought’
      • ‘I was a bit nervous but not half as bad as when I was waiting to go in to bat.’
      • ‘Also, I'm sure you're not half as closed off as Jesse is, and even if you are, at least you're aware enough to know about it, which is something Jesse really needs to work on.’
      • ‘Alas poor Peter, Prince of Darkness, not half as good as you thought you were, not half as bad as most people thought you were, you had to go.’
      • ‘While certainly not half as funny as their films, Pootie Tang bounces from scene to scene with the attempt to make the viewer laugh at any cost.’
      • ‘But the situation was not half as bad as it could have been.’
      • ‘I, on the other hand, was not half as comely as they, and definitely not an object of his desire, so I could hold his gaze for as long as I wanted.’
      • ‘And I said, knowing it was a ‘go’ almost, ‘That's not half as bad, Mr Greene, as losing your biographer.’’
      • ‘I'm pretty sure they're not half as stressed out and burned out as most of the rest of us.’
      • ‘Girlie, she's not half as bad as you were in freshman year.’
      • ‘When we moved to South Africa in 1984 we were extremely culture-shocked by materialism here - and it's not half as bad as elsewhere!’
      really, certainly, definitely, decidedly, assuredly, surely, very much, to a great extent, to a considerable extent, for sure, indeed
      View synonyms
    • 2Not at all:

      ‘the players are not half bad’
      • ‘(I am not half bad on wireline technology either, but my focus has been more on wireless).’
      • ‘And although I'd deny it if ever asked, being in the spotlight for something other than being the worst player on the ball team was not half bad.’
      • ‘The fiction's not half bad, but it's the non-fiction that stands out.’
      • ‘We're talking massively complicated stuff that I wouldn't even fathom creating myself, and I'm not half bad with this stuff.’
      • ‘You know, as a sampler of stuff, that's not half bad.’
      • ‘This season a re-make of ‘The Night Stalker’ has begun to air on Thursday nights and it's not half bad.’
      • ‘Still, he's made sure hardcore TT fans will turn out by co-writing a couple of songs with Gary Barlow - they're not up to Take That standards, but they're not half bad.’
      • ‘Last night's debate was not half bad for an idiot, but how can people even THINK to vote for him after seeing the first one.’
      • ‘Instead of Philosopher's Stone's mindless parade of the book's high spots, there's an actual story here and it's not half bad.’
      • ‘Then we went to the pub, caught public transport home, slept for a couple of hours and went to our validictory dinner which was good, bit teary, but not half bad.’
      not at all, not a bit, not in any way, by no means, absolutely not, most certainly not, not for a moment, not nearly, not the slightest bit, to no extent
      View synonyms
    • 3To an extreme degree; very much so:

      ‘she didn't half flare up!’
      • ‘Anyway, it didn't half give me backache, pulling it.’
      • ‘Well, it's got to be said that while judging the Interactive BAFTAs was fabulously fulfilling experience, I'm not half glad it's over.’
      really, certainly, definitely, decidedly, assuredly, surely, very much, to a great extent, to a considerable extent, for sure, indeed
      View synonyms
  • not least

    • In particular; notably:

      ‘there is a great deal at stake, not least in relation to the environment’
  • not quite

    • Not completely or entirely:

      ‘my hair's not quite dry’
      ‘she hasn't quite got the hang of it yet’
      • ‘If it has not quite been able to reach its goal, it does not seem to be from lack of effort.’
      • ‘I quite like these composers, but not quite as much I want to like them, if you get me.’
      • ‘Fred declared this dish to be good, still, but not quite as good as he remembered from before.’
      • ‘His characters inhabit a society that is not quite ours, but which is familiar all the same.’
      • ‘It was one of those mornings when you half wake up but not quite all the way.’
      • ‘Much about it is not quite up to standard but there are other parts in which it shines.’
      • ‘We are not leaving the team as it is because it is pretty obvious it's not quite up to scratch.’
      • ‘It is a work in progress and it is not quite there yet, but it is getting better.’
      • ‘Could you help us here, because we are not quite clear as to where the boundaries should be drawn.’
      • ‘It's not quite leaping a tall building in a single bound, but it's the next best thing.’
  • not that

    • It is not to be inferred that:

      ‘I'll never be allowed back—not that I'd want to go back’
      • ‘It is supposed to be easier to win a title than it is to retain it, not that Glasgow Hawks noticed.’
      • ‘The gap opened quickly, not that there was ever any lessening in Radcliffe's effort.’
      • ‘These must be confusing times for the singer - not that this makes them anything new.’
      • ‘I felt her tilt her head back to look at me, not that she would have seen anything in the dark.’
      • ‘There is also a sense that he is free to speak his mind - not that he ever bit his tongue in the commentary-box.’
      • ‘It is their art and it is their sport, and it takes up a fair chunk of their lives, not that they complain.’
      • ‘I have experience in this area, not that I have ever visited a working girl as I have not.’
      • ‘He may even have been present at my 18th birthday do - not that I can remember much about it.’
      • ‘Even the most pretentious of wine snobs, not that I know any, can expect to be amazed at Bacar.’
  • not a thing

    • Nothing at all.

      • ‘After you have been holding family meetings for several months, you may notice some week that meeting day has arrived and there is not a thing on the agenda.’
      • ‘And there's not a thing that anyone in Ireland is doing about it.’
      • ‘We did not hear a jot about that from Dr Brash - not a thing.’
      • ‘This has nothing to do with young people drinking - not a thing; because if it had, the Government would target the alcopops.’
      • ‘And liberty or freedom would have had not a thing to do with it.’
      • ‘So about 18 months later we have this bill before the House, but it will do nothing to change those circumstances - not a thing.’
      • ‘I spent the whole day buying presents for him and the baby - not a thing for myself - all for my two great loves.’
      • ‘He had not a thing in the world but bluff and his own ego, his own will.’
      • ‘His skin was smooth and without calluses; not a thing like Jessam's hands, I knew.’
      • ‘There's not a thing on this world you could have done to stop us.’
      • ‘That happened 18 months to 2 years ago, and this Government did nothing - not a thing.’
      • ‘There's not a thing that's magical about a computer.’
      • ‘The Island, like Bay, delivers what's expected, and not a thing more.’
      • ‘Even had he not a thing to do that day and business slow, his office itself would have offered any amount of distractions.’
      • ‘Now after 30-odd years of work he has not a thing to show.’
      • ‘Di looked the two over and found not a thing in common.’
      • ‘Actually, there is not a thing for us to worry about on the policy front.’
      • ‘If it is false, then there is not a thing that the government can do to clear its name.’
      • ‘This bill does nothing for youth offending - not a thing.’
      • ‘He laughed to the sky and sauntered away to his home in the night, happy-go-lucky and thinking he had not a thing to worry over.’
      not a thing, not a single thing, not anything, nothing at all, nil, zero
      View synonyms
  • not very

    • 1In a low degree:

      ‘‘Bad news?’ ‘Not very.’’
    • 2Far from being:

      ‘I'm not very impressed’
      • ‘We were not very impressed to find out that Delft is also famous for small white tiles decorated in blue paint.’
      • ‘Unfortunately, there's a lot of it lying around in not very secure places.’
      • ‘It's not very surprising that Ricks mentions the song only once, in passing.’
      • ‘Sadly for Rogers, he missed the not very difficult conversion, and those were the crucial two points.’
      • ‘My friend was not very impressed and it was obvious that he did not want to know anything about Islam.’
      • ‘The second boy was not very tall but well built with spiky fair hair.’
      • ‘Behind us stood a few of those from the most extremist of the settlers, not very satisfied that we had arrived to Hebron.’
      • ‘Feeling bored for a day is not very serious, but feeling bored for weeks or months is dangerous.’
      • ‘Rough weather and running out of diesel are not very plausible reasons.’
      • ‘I went out at about 11 and saw one or two streaks though it was not very impressive.’

Origin

Middle English: contraction of the adverb nought.

Pronunciation

not

/nɒt/