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The meaning and origin of the expression: Nevertheless


What's the meaning of the word 'Nevertheless'?

Nevertheless, and its stable-mate nonetheless, which means much the same thing, take a little explaining...

These words always appear as the counter argument to some earlier stated fact. The general form is 'Fact A may be true but, despite that, the seemingly incompatible fact B is no less true.

Perhaps it's easier to explain with an example... "My job isn't very well paid; nevertheless, I love it".

So, nevertheless/nonetheless are used where you might use synonyms like 'despite that', 'even so', 'however', 'yet'.

What's the origin of the word 'Nevertheless'?

Nevertheless has been part of the English language since at least the 14th century. Initially the word was the phrase 'never the less'. It migrated to its single word form very early, with 'nevertheless' citations dating from 1400. It didn't appear to go through the more usual route of phrase (never the less) to hyphenated variant (never-the-less) to word, but jumped directly from never the less to nevertheless.

Nevertheless, and certainly nonetheless, might be considered somewhat antiquated forms of speech and many people now opt for 'even so' or 'still'. Nevertheless, they aren't quite as antiquated as the previously common negative form 'neverthemore', which died out in the 16th century.

The meaning and origin of the term 'nevertheless'.Nevertheless was taken as the title of the 2021 Korean teen romance TV series. The plot of the show, where one of the lead couple wants romance and the other isn't interested, reflects the meaning of the word; nevertheless... love blossoms.

The first use of nevertheless in print that I know of is in John Wycliffe's Prefatory Epistle to St. Jerome, circa 1382:

Neuer the lese withinne thoru vertu is all.

Gary Martin - the author of the website.

By Gary Martin

Gary Martin is a writer and researcher on the origins of phrases and the creator of the Phrase Finder website. Over the past 26 years more than 700 million of his pages have been downloaded by readers. He is one of the most popular and trusted sources of information on phrases and idioms.

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