Definition of without in English:



  • 1In the absence of:

    ‘he went to Sweden without her’
    • ‘Others never venture into the outside world without a chaperone.’
    • ‘The Prince came without the men, money and guns that he had been expressly told that he needed.’
    • ‘My husband's big breakfast arrived without the eggs.’
    • ‘I later recovered the holdall, without the money and saleable items, but with the club records intact.’
    • ‘How many shows do you think Alex played in his life outside of Montreal without Carlos?’
    • ‘This allegation has been denied by the club but in the absence of smoke without fire, it must be considered a possibility.’
    • ‘The child must now start its life in the outside world without parents at its shoulder.’
    • ‘In that case there was smoke without fire, and in May he walked free from court.’
    • ‘She was going to be late for work so she left without him and wasn't happy.’
    • ‘I believe there is no smoke without fire.’
    • ‘Ideally, they should be allowed to work without any form of outside undue pressure.’
    unaccompanied by, unescorted by
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1[often with verbal noun] In circumstances in which the action mentioned does not happen:
      ‘they sat looking at each other without speaking’
      • ‘You watch the emotional drama taking place inside and outside without getting caught up in it.’
      • ‘He forced them to surrender without a shot being fired and held them prisoner until back-up arrived.’
      • ‘It is very sad that these people can't manage an hour or so without smoking.’
      • ‘He was burned down his right arm and hand, on the back of his head and his back, but he escaped without smoke damage to his lungs.’
      • ‘September is a month of fruition, pleasing sunsets and being able to have a fire again without feeling guilty.’
      • ‘I can't finish this piece without making a special mention of the lighting.’
      • ‘Being in hospital is stressful enough without being banned from smoking.’
      • ‘This thief had previous convictions and so was a felon, but the constable fired at him without knowing this.’
      • ‘The church has slid so far into consumerism it is nearly impossible to live out your faith without paying for it.’
      • ‘Hardly a day goes past in Otley at the moment without yet another fire apparently being deliberately started.’
      • ‘His arms are held out straight and he continues to fire without stopping for a break.’
      • ‘You can now go on-line and increase your skills without going outside your door.’
      • ‘Continuing to put premises to such use without applying for a Fire Certificate is an offence.’
      • ‘His second wife, Bettye, tied the knot without mentioning that she'd been married before.’
      • ‘A related form was the white herring, which was salted without being smoked.’
      • ‘What a joy to come back from a night out without cigarette smoke clinging to every fibre and to be able to wear your clothes again the next day.’
      • ‘Some years later the dreamer hears of a magic man who walks through fire without being burned.’
      • ‘He left his shirt near the fire and shuffled into the woods without removing his wet shorts.’
      • ‘He fired randomly and without aiming, trying to simply heighten the confusion within the camp.’
      • ‘Hardly a day goes by without some mention in the media of a new sporting deal.’
  • 2Not having the use or benefit of:

    ‘the first person to make the ascent without oxygen’
    • ‘If I hear a noise outside the villa, I do not go outside on my own without a torch’
    • ‘American soldiers are now rarely seen outside their vehicles without helicopter and tank support.’
    • ‘Last Thursday night they were engulfed by a raging fire without a sprinkler system to put it out.’
    • ‘He has been able to get around his home with a stick but cannot manage outside without a wheel-chair.’
    • ‘This is not the only fire to be reported at a property without a fitted smoke detector in recent weeks.’
    • ‘The workers were found huddled around a fire without the proper dress for the weather.’
    • ‘They have to catch and prepare their own food, light a fire without matches and build a shelter.’
    • ‘Is this something I could live without and still remain alive and well?’
    • ‘Finally we'd like to make mention of the musicians without whom this show would not have been as good as it was.’
    • ‘We know that without these bush fires plants won't germinate and the bush won't flourish.’
    • ‘They live in rented accommodation without a car and are saving money, for a better life back home.’
    • ‘Dozens more without tickets waited outside to soak up the atmosphere.’
    • ‘True, it is hard for a monk not to touch money and to live without the comforts of this world.’
    • ‘This may seem like a simple proposition, but to a man it's like you have asked him to scale Mount Everest without oxygen.’
    • ‘Fire crews were due to revisit the area today to talk to neighbours and fit smoke alarms in properties without them.’
    • ‘She even promised to give him anything he wanted if he went without meat for a week.’
    • ‘The next day, he said, she reappeared, said she could not live without the children and would he object if she took them.’
    • ‘They are too numerous to mention but without them the event would not have been a success.’
    • ‘The risk of death in a house fire is three times higher in homes without smoke alarms.’
    • ‘I decided to brass it and head for the departure gate without a boarding card.’
    lacking, in need of, wanting for, needing, requiring, short of
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  • 3archaic, literary Outside:

    ‘the barbarians without the gates’


archaic, literary
  • Outside:

    ‘the enemy without’


dialect, archaic
  • 1Without it being the case that:

    ‘he won't be able to go without we know it’
    1. 1.1 Unless:
      ‘I'd never have known you without you spoke to me’


Old English withūtan ‘on the outside’.