unless


unless
conjunction used when one thing will only happen or be true as long as another thing happens or is true: Milk quickly turns sour unless it's refrigerated. | Unless some extra money is found, the theatre will close. USAGE NOTE: UNLESS WORD CHOICE: unless, if...not, if, provided/providing that You do not use unless about something that did not happen or you know is not true, but you can use if...not in this way. For example, you could not use unless in these sentences: She would have died if the doctors hadn't operated immediately (=but they did).| If he wasn't such an idiot (=but he is) he would understand. You use unless about something that could happen if something else does not happen or is not done, or if something could be true: Unless the doctors operate immediately, she'll die. | She'll die unless the doctors operate immediately (=the doctors have not operated yet, and may or may not do).| Unless he's a complete idiot, he'll understand (=he may or may not be a complete idiot). Unless and if...not can both be used to say that what you will do depends on something else happening: Unless he comes soon, I'm going without him. | If he doesn't come soon, I'm going without him. You use provided (that) or providing (that) when the condition is that something definitely happens or is definitely true: Providing the weather's OK, we'll make the trip next Saturday. You often use unless to add a condition that you think of after you have finished speaking: We'll go there next Saturday - unless it's raining of course.

Longman dictionary of contemporary English. 2004.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Unless — Un*less , conj. [Formerly, onles, onlesse, onlesse that, that is, in less, in a less case. See {On}, and {Less}.] Upon any less condition than (the fact or thing stated in the sentence or clause which follows); if not; supposing that not; if it… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • unless — [un les′] conj. [ME onlesse, earlier on lesse that, in lesse that, at less than, for less] in any case other than that; except that; except if [unless it rains, the game will be played] prep. except; save [nothing can help him, unless a miracle] …   English World dictionary

  • unless — preposition except, excepting, however, precluding, save, without Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • unless — mid 15c., earlier onlesse, from on lesse (than) on a less condition (than), the first syllable originally on, but the negative connotation and the lack of stress changed it to un …   Etymology dictionary

  • unless — ► CONJUNCTION ▪ except when; if not. ORIGIN from ON(Cf. ↑on) or IN(Cf. ↑in) + LESS(Cf. ↑less) …   English terms dictionary

  • unless — un|less W1S1 [ʌnˈles, ən ] conj [Date: 1400 1500; Origin: on less than on a lower condition than (1400 1500)] 1.) used to say that something will happen or be true if something else does not happen or is not true ▪ Unless some extra money is… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • unless — un|less [ ən les ] conjunction *** used for saying that if something does not happen, something else will happen or be true as a result: I can t help you unless you tell me what s wrong. The car should be in the garage unless someone s moved it.… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • unless */*/*/ — UK [ənˈles] / US conjunction used for saying that if something does not happen, something else will happen or be true as a result I can t help you unless you tell me what s wrong. The car should be in the garage unless someone s moved it. Unless… …   English dictionary

  • Unless — infobox Book | name = Unless title orig = translator = author = Carol Shields cover artist = country = Canada language = English series = genre = Novel publisher = Harper Collins release date = April 30, 2002 media type = Print (Hardback… …   Wikipedia

  • unless — [[t]ʌnle̱s[/t]] ♦♦ CONJ SUBORD You use unless to introduce the only circumstances in which an event you are mentioning will not take place or in which a statement you are making is not true. Unless you are trying to lose weight to please yourself …   English dictionary