Definition of cannot choose but do something in US English:

cannot choose but do something


  • Have no alternative to doing something.

    • ‘God has accepted the wager, contending: ‘While man's desires and aspirations stir, he cannot choose but err; yet in his erring journey through the night, instinctively he travels toward the light.’’
    • ‘To atone for this departure from the vows of the scholar and his eternal duties, to this secular charity, we have at least this gain, that here is a message which those to whom it was addressed cannot choose but hear.’
    • ‘When people talk of the freedom of writing, speaking, or thinking, I cannot choose but laugh.’
    • ‘As a corollary to the proposition that all institutions must be subordinated to the law of equal freedom, we cannot choose but admit the right of the citizen to adopt a condition of voluntary outlawry.’
    • ‘A woman enchained cannot choose but give a measure of that bondage to her sons and daughters.’
    • ‘He felt it absolutely necessary to demonstrate the shaky foundations on which materialism stood because he felt that ‘when this cornerstone is once removed, the whole fabric (of atheism and irreligion) cannot choose but to fall to the ground…’’
    • ‘Knowing man cannot choose but pay, how have we cheapened paradise?’
    • ‘I can see all the ugliness and all the misery of my city, and though my heart is made of lead yet I cannot choose but weep.’
    • ‘The result being that angels can't choose but simply obey and serve and therefore can't have a gospel for themselves.’
    • ‘But now in the meantime, I cannot choose but perform these honest duties to you, to whom I have been so deeply bounden.’