Unless

Definitions

  • Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • conj Unless Upon any less condition than (the fact or thing stated in the sentence or clause which follows); if not; supposing that not; if it be not; were it not that; except; as, we shall fail unless we are industrious.☞ By the omission of the verb in the dependent clause, unless was frequently used prepositionally, -- a construction common in Shakespeare and still employed colloquially. "Here nothing breeds unless the nightly owl."
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
  • Interesting fact: Another law in Helena, Montana, mandates that a woman can't dance on a table in a saloon or bar unless she has on at least three pounds, two ounces of clothing.
    • unless If it be not that; if it be not the case that; were it not the fact that; if … not; supposing that … not.
    • unless For fear that; in case; lest.
    • unless [By omission of a verb, implied in the context, unless may have the force of ‘except,’ ‘but for’: as
    • unless Synonyms Except, Unless. Except could once be used as a synonym for unless, but the words have now drawn entirely apart. Unless is only a conjunction; except is only a preposition. Except introduces an exception to a statement which is otherwise general: it may be followed by a clause when connection is made by a particle, as when, that, as, while, or especially another preposition: the omission of such connective makes the structure archaic. Unless introduces a clause, or the abbreviation of a clause, indicating a limitation or condition.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: In Boston, Massachusetts it is illegal to take a bath unless instructed to do so by a physician.
    • conj Unless un-les′ at or for less: if not: supposing that not: save, except.
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Quotations

  • Howard Zinn
    Howard Zinn
    “We will not know unless we begin.”
  • German Proverb
    German Proverb
    “Never give advice unless asked.”
  • John Wooden
    John%20Wooden
    “Nothing will work unless you do.”
  • Carl Sandburg
    Carl%20Sandburg
    “Nothing happens unless first a dream.”
  • Napoleon Bonaparte
    Napoleon%20Bonaparte
    “Greatness be nothing unless it be lasting.”
  • Source Unknown
    Source Unknown
    “Ideas won't work unless you do.”

Etymology

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
Formerly, onles, onlesse, onlesse that, that is, in less, in a less case. See On, and Less
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
Formerly on les, on lesse, in phrase on lesse that, in less than.

Usage

In literature:

Unless he is injured or imprisoned somewhere, he ought to find his way to Pera to-day.
"Paul Patoff" by F. Marion Crawford
This is sure to prove disastrous, unless the original bidder has length as well as strength.
"Auction of To-day" by Milton C. Work
Hay, straw, or oats should not be fed unless steamed or boiled.
"Special Report on Diseases of the Horse" by United States Department of Agriculture
Pulling out your watch in company, unless asked the time of day, is a mark of the demi-bred.
"Searchlights on Health: Light on Dark Corners" by B.G. Jefferis
The Master said, A gentleman will not be looked up to unless he is staid, nor will his learning be sound.
"The Sayings Of Confucius" by Confucius
Now it had come to pass that Uncle Indefer was never at his ease unless his niece were with him.
"Cousin Henry" by Anthony Trollope
One does not like to call for help unless certain of danger.
"The Blue Wall" by Richard Washburn Child
Committees shall be appointed by the President, unless otherwise ordered by the Convention.
"A Report of the Debates and Proceedings in the Secret Sessions of the Conference Convention" by Lucius Eugene Chittenden
You cannot grow unless you are alive, and you are not alive unless you have Jesus Christ.
"Expositions of Holy Scripture" by Alexander Maclaren
Unless we can prove that she took the knife, unless someone saw her under suspicious circumstances, we are helpless.
"The Day of Judgment" by Joseph Hocking
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In poetry:

What good have I wrought?
I laugh to have learned
That joy cannot come
Unless it be earned;
"Nimium Fortunatus (The Good Life)" by Robert Seymour Bridges
And when I walk I am alone
Unless Fate thee should send me,
A "thousand thousand little loves"
Did never yet attend me.
"Chloe's Song" by Ethel Clifford
And this waste of virgin snow
To my sight will not be fair,
Unless thou wilt smiling come,
Love, to wander with me there.
"The Student's Serenade" by Anne Bronte
Ah Lord! with such a heart as mine,
Unless thou hold me fast;
I feel I must, I shall decline,
And prove like them at last.
"Will Ye Also Go Away?" by John Newton
I think that I shall never see
A billboard lovely as a tree
Indeed, unless the billboards fall
I'll never see a tree at all.
"Song of the Open Road" by Ogden Nash
I could not love if my thought loved not too,
Nor could my body touch the body of you,
Unless first in the dark night of the mind
Love had fulfilled what Love had well designed.
"The Dark Night Of The Mind" by John Freeman

In news:

All are free unless otherwise noted.
No film is true to anything unless it's a documentary (and most times that is suspect).
"Sex and the City" introduced the world to Mario Cantone, but you don't really know the performer unless you see him on stage -- that's where he's most at home.
Unless you live in the higher elevations north and west of Washington, this area is tough on conifers .
The best thing is, there are no losers – unless you can't stand the site of Corgi pups.
Unless otherwise noted, all meetings are in the King County Council Chambers.
A wedding is not a wedding unless it is witnessed.
Unless, it's that aunt we all have.
We are the very first ones to do something like this anywhere at all, unless I'm mistaken.
Unless the bear is in your pantry, Nevada game wardens aren't coming.
Unless the Government Gets There First.
Heat choke is the feel- good story of the year (unless you're the Bulls).
The questions will be different every week unless we come across a really sweet one we want to reuse.
"It's hard to make regular (sports) games emotional unless it comes down to the wire," Jones said.
The presidential primary election is not likely to make history for voter turnout -- unless perhaps for the lack of.
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In science:

The fermion fields can be in any representation F of G unless a further symmetry such as supersymmetry is required.
Supersymmetry Breaking by Dimensional Reduction over Coset Spaces
R = 0 unless the representation R is self conjugate.
Generating Functional and Large N-Limit of Nonlocal 2D Generalized Yang-Mills Theories ($nlgYM_2$'s)
Redshifts are from Cohen et al. (2000) and Cohen (2001) unless noted otherwise.
The Chandra Deep Survey of the Hubble Deep Field North Area. IV. An Ultradeep Image of the HDF-N
Unless otherwise specified, we assume that G is split over Fq .
Rationality properties of unipotent representations
In the spatial domain, δ(~x ) has long-range correlations that are difficult to sample unless one first goes to Fourier space.
Multiscale Gaussian Random Fields for Cosmological Simulations
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