Unless meaning

ŭn-lĕs
In any case other than that; except that; except if.

Unless it rains, the game will be played.

conjunction
15
9

I'm leaving unless I get a pay rise (AmE: raise).

conjunction
8
5
(archaic, dial.) Except; save.

Nothing can help him, unless a miracle.

preposition
7
6
Unless is defined as except something else happens.

An example of unless is saying you're going skiing this weekend, except if it doesn't snow - "I'll go skiing unless it doesn't snow."

conjunction
6
7
Except on the condition that; except under the circumstances that.
conjunction
3
5
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Except for; except.
preposition
1
2

Origin of unless

  • Middle English unlesse alteration (influenced by un- not) of onlesse on on on lesse less less

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition

  • onlesse, from on lesse, from "on a less condition" ("on" became un-)

    From Wiktionary