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Definitions of Unless

  1. If not; in case not; on condition that not. The Winston Simplified Dictionary. By William Dodge Lewis, Edgar Arthur Singer. Published 1919.
  2. Except and unless were common formerly as conjuctions, nearly or quite interchangeable (“Except thou make thyself a prince over us.”-Num. xvi. 18), but the former is now comparatively seldom used in that way (at least with the verb directly expressed), having usually a prepositional force. In the Bible except (conj.) occurs eight or ten times as often as unless. The special function of except is to introduce an exception to a general statement; of unless to introduce a restriction, limitation, or alternative. “So that he could not be impleaded in any civil court except on criminal charges.”-Hallam. “And made it hard for any nation to be thenceforth safe except by its sheer strength."-Kinglake. "A releif was a sum of money (unless where charter or custom introduced a different tribute) due from every one of full age, etc."-Hallam. "Except when it happens that the people are turned aside for a moment the foreigner has good grounds for inferring that whatever the policy of England may be, it will not be altogether unstable."-Kinglake. "In Europe, all States except the five great Powers are exempt from the duty of watching over the general safety; and even a State which is one of the five great Powers is not practically under an obligation to sustain the cause of justice unless its perception of the wrong is reinforced by a sense of its own interests."-Kinglake. The american dictionary of the english language. By Daniel Lyons. Published 1899.
  3. Except; if not. The Clarendon dictionary. By William Hand Browne, Samuel Stehman Haldeman. Published 1894.
  4. If it be not a fact that; supposing that ... not. The Concise Standard Dictionary of the English Language. By James Champlin Fernald. Published 1919.
  5. Except; if not; supposing that not. Etymological and pronouncing dictionary of the English language. By Stormonth, James, Phelp, P. H. Published 1874.

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Usage examples for Unless

  1. How can we know," she said, " unless you tell us?" – In the Courts of Memory 1858-1875. by L. de Hegermann-Lindencrone
  2. After that- he will be forgotten, unless some one comes to claim him. – The Man Who Rose Again by Joseph Hocking
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