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None the less

Posted by Smokey Stover on June 06, 2007

In Reply to: None the less posted by Sam on June 05, 2007

: "None the less". What is the exact meaning of this phrase? Where did this saying originate? - and anything else you could possibly find out about it.

The exact meaning lies in the words. Nonetheless, nevertheless, however, all imply an antecedent, in spite of which [whatever you next say]. Nonetheless [for that which has just been said], or not less true because of what has been said, never the less true for that which has just been said. Example (a poor one, but worth every penny). You call me a freak. Nonetheless, I have arms and legs and a mouth just like you. You say the houses are ugly. Nevertheless they are selling fast. (It is none the less true that they are selling fast.)

However is similar. It's not just a long way of saying "but," but has a meaning: however true that may be... Or, in an example. You say you are of noble stock. However (or how ever true) that may be, you are nonetheless a cad. Or, your blue blood notwithstanding, you are a cad. Or, Okay, so you're of noble birth. All the same, your behavior is ignoble. Despite your pedigree you behave like a cur. Your pretensions notwithstanding, from here you look like a jerk.

Are you finding yourself any closer to understanding these expressions? Except for nonetheless and nevertheless, which are synonyms, they are not necessarily interchangeable. They have a lot of overlap, but their use in sentences varies. "However" and "nevertheless" can both be found as early as the 14th century, "notwithstanding" from the 15th century, "nonetheless" (or "natheless") from the 16th century.