Definition of anything in English:



  • 1[usually with negative or in questions] Used to refer to a thing, no matter what.

    ‘nobody was saying anything’
    ‘have you found anything?’
    ‘he inquired whether there was anything he could do’
    • ‘Fill them out with examples drawn from your texts and analyse anything that you quote or refer to.’
    • ‘The question is no longer whether to buy this or that, it is whether to buy anything at all.’
    • ‘Suddenly, neither of us had anything to say to one another aside from the matter in hand.’
    • ‘The issue is whether we have any power or duty to do anything about the situation which has arisen.’
    • ‘That division is a matter of our linguistic systems and not anything about knowledge.’
    • ‘With so many exciting projects and prospects, is there anything he would wish for?’
    • ‘The thug then warned her to stay in the office and not to do anything for 10 minutes.’
    • ‘It is unbelievable that Labour should be doing this and nobody says anything about it.’
    • ‘They both got in touch and asked us for demos, but we never heard anything back.’
    • ‘Yes it was a good technology, but nobody cared enough about it to write anything for it.’
    • ‘The Government is getting more revenue but in return the public is not getting anything.’
    • ‘He had no convictions for anything of a similar nature.’
    • ‘The truth of the matter is there isn't anything in the gift line that I want, let alone need.’
    • ‘I do not know whether there is anything else that you might be able to assist us on?’
    • ‘There was no time to assess whether anything was stolen or the extent of the damage.’
    • ‘Nobody said anything though, and it may have just been dismissed as a jokey comment.’
    • ‘Anyone who can remember anything that may help police are asked to come forward.’
    • ‘A man walked up to the elderly woman and without saying anything started punching her.’
    • ‘We are left wondering whether they had anything more to offer than tea and sympathy.’
    • ‘The owner threatened to scream and the two men left the property without taking anything.’
    1. 1.1[without negative]Used for emphasis.
      ‘I was ready for anything’
      • ‘The next day I came back to work truly rested and ready for anything the world could throw at me.’
      • ‘The family had stocked up on food and water and was ready for anything, he said.’
      • ‘We have built up a lead at the top now but nobody is taking anything for granted.’
      • ‘When he was a boy, Fernando Redondo was soon taught that he could achieve anything.’
      • ‘She really would do anything for anyone and was very well liked by all her friends and colleagues.’
      • ‘The scale of this crisis is bigger than anything we, as an organisation, have ever seen.’
      • ‘At one stage I asked Eddy whether we should refuse to have anything to do with it.’
      • ‘You could imagine her doing almost anything, whether or not it was likely to get a laugh.’
      • ‘In general, geeks are very happy to tell you anything, whether you wanted to know it or not.’
      • ‘Now he is ready, willing and able to face up to anything the championship can throw at him.’
      • ‘If so, shareholders will be entitled to wonder whether there is anything he cannot do.’
      • ‘I missed out on an opportunity three years ago and this time I would have paid anything.’
      • ‘This time he did not quite enjoy an armchair ride but he was ready for anything that came his way.’
      • ‘The question is whether we can say anything sensible about what the error is likely to be.’
      • ‘Dad is a DIY expert and he fixes anything that needs repairing in a matter of seconds.’
      • ‘Currently, there does not appear to be anything close to a meeting of minds in such matters.’
      • ‘The argument now is about how badly we will be affected and whether it is too late to do anything about it.’
      • ‘On the evidence of the past year, she seems ready for anything the stage can throw at her.’
      • ‘Anyone who has had their coat hem nibbled on by a goat down on the farm knows that they will eat almost anything.’
      • ‘I would give anything to be fit enough to do the walk again but, these days, a walk to the shops is my limit.’
    2. 1.2Used to indicate a range.
      ‘he trains anything from seven to eight hours a day’
      • ‘Security locks can cost anything from £3 to £80.’
      • ‘The client can decide on the length and duration of the game walk, anything from a strenuous 3- hour hike to a more leisurely 30-minute stroll.’
      • ‘As a common law offence, the punishment can carry anything up to a life sentence.’


  • anything but

    • Not at all (used for emphasis)

      ‘he is anything but racist’
      • ‘When the sun comes up this view can be anything but uninspiring though, and this morning was a case in point.’
      • ‘The Fulford campaign proves that a community threatened is anything but apathetic.’
      • ‘Such a fight Warren would be crazy to pass up, and he is anything but crazy.’
      • ‘Though after a few days of this for three meals a day I was starting to crave anything but.’
      • ‘Your reporter seems to think that this is a progressive and forward thinking club when it is anything but.’
      • ‘Yet behind the lace curtains and gentility, his upbringing was anything but ordinary.’
      • ‘Smoke free it may be, but the air in the average Irish public house is anything but clean.’
      • ‘It may have been a charity match but the boys in Green were going to be anything but a walkover.’
      • ‘The Military Commissions, on the other hand, he believes will be anything but fair.’
      • ‘Not in a sentimental sense, for a child is anything but that, but in a very factual way.’
  • anything like —

    • [with negative]At all like— (used for emphasis)

      ‘it doesn't taste anything like wine’
      • ‘All the pears we tasted didn't taste anything like their supermarket counterparts.’
      • ‘But it wasn't anything like the lethal weapons that seem to be all the rage.’
      • ‘If he was anything like a typical male wearer, he won't have done it any favours.’
      • ‘Let me tell you - ricochets in real life don't sound anything like they do on telly.’
      • ‘Mr Wade said he had never experienced anything like it and pleaded with owners to look after their dogs.’
      • ‘Well you are if you're anything like me.’
      • ‘No, not a useful one under the A3 or anything like that, but the opening of a sandwich shop.’
      • ‘She's been fixing me with looks all night, but I assumed it wasn't anything like that!’
      • ‘If you're anything like me it won't be just your kids who leave feeling a new world has opened up to them.’
      • ‘No leading economic measure has grown anything like that over the same period.’
  • (as) — as anything

    • informal Extremely—

      ‘she said it out loud, clear as anything’
      • ‘The beef is tenderloin, seared quickly, tender as anything and tossed in a good, sweet/sour teriyaki glaze.’
      • ‘But these lads are as hungry as anything and well capable of taking anyone's place.’
      • ‘Some days she was as nice as anything, and other days I couldn't say a word without a snide comment.’
      • ‘Her stance was as cute as anything, regularly pointing the toe of her shoe to the floor in a ballerina-like pose’
      • ‘He flew around in circles for a while, as fast as anything, and then finally came down for a smooth landing.’
      • ‘All of a sudden, the basement seemed very quiet, and Rocky heard the girl's words as clear as anything.’
      • ‘Hanson looked up from his paper, and they exchanged a mild look, which said as plainly as anything: "This isn't what we expected."’
      • ‘I could see her as clear as anything, and she seemed to be smiling.’
      • ‘She was tough as anything.’
      • ‘He came running over as fast as anything.’
  • if anything

    • Used to suggest tentatively that something may be the case (often the opposite of something previously implied)

      ‘I haven't made much of this—if anything, I've played it down’
      • ‘The onset of Foot of Mouth disease, if anything, fuelled spending in urban shopping malls.’
      • ‘What the play does lack if anything is a sense of balance in that the police's perspective is barely touched on.’
      • ‘Councillors have agreed to meet with officers to see if anything can be done about the objections raised.’
      • ‘School admissions will not be a lottery, if anything the process will be more straightforward.’
      • ‘We could have some tests to see what, if anything, is wrong, and see if anything can be done to fix it.’
      • ‘Mrs Catterson says she should have been alerted as she is the point of contact if anything happens to her mother.’
      • ‘There is simply no need for it and if anything such phrases have now become counter-productive.’
      • ‘My own experience suggests we are if anything already too generous on this point.’
      • ‘The trend under the previous administration was, if anything, the reverse of this.’
      • ‘Indeed, if anything the worship of nature is probably more intense today than at any time this century.’
  • like anything

    • To a great degree.

      ‘they would probably worry like anything’
      • ‘We've got to fight like anything to recover the position that we had even in 1945.’
      • ‘When I came round I moaned; my head hurt like anything.’
      • ‘There's a green haze on the trees, and the snowdrops are blooming like anything.’
      • ‘Matthew grabbed the ball and ran like anything.’
      • ‘The bill was £220, but they complained like anything when we deducted it from their deposit.’
      • ‘Once I get talking, I'll chatter away like anything.’
      • ‘On one side there is a tremendous financial crunch and on the other the ministers are spending money like anything.’
  • or anything

    • informal [usually with negative or in questions]Added as a general reference to other things similar to the thing mentioned.

      ‘no strings attached, you don't have to join up or anything’
      • ‘You don't need to endorse them or anything, because if the votes are fair they'll win hands down.’
      • ‘I'm not ashamed of it or anything, but I wonder what I'm supposed to be waving a flag at.’
      • ‘Not that I know anything about Tibetan music or anything, but that is what this reminds me of.’
      • ‘Thankfully people that have seen us haven't hated us enough to throw beer bottles or anything!’
      • ‘Not that I was hoping to get a five hundred quid bike off the insurance or anything, you understand.’
      • ‘I was meant to have a stress free weekend with no band practices or anything.’
      • ‘We were one of the first bands to go on tour without a record contract or anything.’
      • ‘He wasn't the type to show off or anything and he was so meticulous about doing everything properly.’
      • ‘I have tonnes of schoolwork, but no more solo trips to universities or anything.’
      • ‘I would recommend the movie but not vote it as best of the year or anything crazy like that.’