The Meaning of Nonetheless: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know the definition of nonetheless? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the word nonetheless, including its definition, etymology, usage, example sentences, and more!

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What does the word nonetheless mean?

According to Merriam-Webster Unabridged English Dictionary and Cambridge English Dictionary, the word nonetheless (pronounced ˌnʌnðəˈles) is an adverb that means despite something that has been said or done. Try using this word of the day or other new words in a sentence today! This word is used in both American English and British English, and is considered an intermediate word in a person’s English vocabulary. 

Many different languages contain words meaning nonetheless. You may notice that some of these translations look and sound similar to each other. This is likely because they have a common origin. Often, cognates, which are words and phrases that sound, look, and mean the same thing across languages are formed when the two words or languages have a common language of origin such as Latin or Greek, This list of translations for the word nonetheless is provided by Word Sense

  • Korean: 그럼에도 불구하고‎, 그렇지만‎
  • Polish: niemniej jednak‎, jednakże‎, jednakowoż‎
  • Venetian: epura‎, epur‎
  • Roman: usprkos tome‎
  • Bokmål: likevel‎, allikevel‎
  • Japanese: にもかかわらず‎ (nimo kakawarazu)
  • Swedish: inte desto mindre‎, hur som helst‎
  • Dutch: niettemin‎
  • Spanish: no obstante‎, sin embargo‎
  • Finnish: silti‎, kuitenkin‎
  • Cyrillic: успркос томе‎
  • Czech: nicméně‎
  • Mandarin: 還是‎, 还是‎ (háishi), 然而‎ (rán’ér), 仍然‎ (réngrán)
  • Catalan: nogensmenys‎, no obstant‎
  • Latin: tamen‎
  • Italian: nondimeno‎, malgrado ciò‎, ciononostante‎
  • Norwegian:
  • French: néanmoins‎
  • Russian: тем не ме́нее‎
  • Telugu: అయినా‎ (ayinaa)
  • German: nichtsdestoweniger‎, nichtsdestotrotz‎
  • Portuguese: ainda assim‎
  • Nynorsk: likevel‎

How can the word nonetheless be used in a sentence?

The word nonetheless can be used in a variety of different ways to mean in spite of or nevertheless. This is considered a polite word, so one does not need to worry about the formality when using it – it is appropriate for any circumstance. Below are a few different examples of using the word nevertheless in a sentence. In this first example, Josh is trying to justify his bad grade to his mother.

Josh: It doesn’t matter.

Mom: Failing a test absolutely matters!

Josh: Yes I may have failed this test, but nonetheless I still have an A in the class. Plus, the rest of the class failed too. This exam had a 15% average. 

Here, Josh uses the word nonetheless to emphasize to his mother that he is still succeeding in the class despite garnering a failing grade on an assignment. In this next example, Josh’s mom is trying to comfort him after he did not get into his dream school.

Josh: Going there was all I ever wanted.

Mom: I know. You worked really hard, Josh. I know it’s disappointing, but nonetheless you will find a great school where you will make great friends and learn a ton. I promise.

Josh: I hope so.

Here, Josh’s mom uses the word nonetheless to tell him that even though he did not gain admittance to his dream school, a great college experience is still in store for him. The word nonetheless can be used in many different ways in the English language.

What are synonyms and antonyms for the word nonetheless?

There are many different words that can be used in place of the word nonetheless. These are called synonyms, which are words and phrases that have the same meaning as another word or phrase. Synonyms are a useful English language grammatical device to know if you are trying to avoid repeating yourself as well as if you are trying to expand your vocabulary. This list of synonyms for the word nonetheless is provided by Thesaurus.

  • nonetheless
  • although
  • even so
  • nevertheless
  • though
  • regardless
  • notwithstanding
  • howbeit
  • still
  • even though
  • still and all
  • however
  • withal
  • yet
  • at any rate
  • in spite of that
  • on the other hand
  • after all
  • despite
  • not the less
  • but
  • anyway

There are also many different words and phrases that mean the opposite of the phrase nonetheless. These are called antonyms. Antonyms are also a useful device to know if you are working on your vocabulary. This list of antonyms for the word nonetheless is also provided by Thesaurus. 

  • by virtue of
  • in behalf of
  • owing to
  • as things go
  • now that
  • due to
  • in as much as
  • as long as
  • for the sake of
  • as a result of
  • being
  • by cause of
  • because of
  • whereas
  • as
  • thanks to
  • seeing
  • on the grounds that
  • over
  • in that
  • considering
  • through
  • since
  • for the reason that
  • in view of
  • by reason of
  • for
  • in the interest of

What is the origin of the word nonetheless?

According to Etymonline, the word nonetheless was used starting in the year 1839 nas three words – none, the, and less. By 1930 it was contracted into one word. The word none is a pronoun that comes from the Middle English non or none from the Old English nan. This comes from no meaning not, and an meaning one. This word and cognates of it exist across many different languages. None was used as an adverb since the 1650s, and an adjective since 1600. The word less comes from the Old English læs meaning less. This comes from the  adjective læssa meaning smaller of fewer, which comes from the Proto-Germanic laisizan and the Proto-Indo-European root leis meaning small.  

Overall, the word nonetheless is an adverb that means in spite of or nevertheless. This word was originally three separate words – none the less – but has since been contracted into one word in modernity. This word is frequently used in both American and British English. 

Sources:

  1. https://www.wordsense.eu/nonetheless/
  2. https://www.thesaurus.com/browse/nonetheless
  3. https://www.etymonline.com/word/nonetheless#etymonline_v_9769
  4. https://www.etymonline.com/word/none#etymonline_v_9765
  5. https://www.etymonline.com/word/less#etymonline_v_51889
  6. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/nonetheless
  7. https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/nonetheless