Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • pro. Any object, occurrence, or matter whatever.
  • adv. To any degree or extent; at all: They aren't anything like last year's team.
  • n. Something or someone of importance: "You had to be something to start with, and Jeremy never was anything” ( Anne Tyler).
  • idiom anything but By no means; not at all: I was anything but happy about going.
  • idiom anything goes Anything is permissible or likely to be tolerated.
  • idiom like anything To an exceeding degree: We worked like anything to meet the deadline.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adv. In any way, any extent or any degree.
  • pro. Any object, act, state, event, or fact whatever; thing of any kind; something or other; aught.
  • pro. Expressing an indefinite comparison.
  • n. Someone or something of importance.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adv. In any measure; anywise; at all.
  • n. Any object, act, state, event, or fact whatever; thing of any kind; something or other; aught.
  • n. Expressing an indefinite comparison; -- with as or like.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • A thing, indefinitely; something or other, no matter what: opposed to nothing: as, have you anything to eat? I do not see anything; give me anything.
  • [From its indeterminate signification, anything is often used colloquially in comparisons, as emphatically comprehensive of whatever simile may suggest itself or be appropriate, especially in the comparative phrases as… as anything, like anything, equivalent to ‘exceedingly,’ ‘greatly.’
  • Any whit; in any degree; to any extent; at all.

Etymologies

any +‎ thing (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Even considering a single book, or the making of a pencil, or anything *anything* in our lives: consider everything lying behind it - does anyone seriously believe that this is an outcome of external forces and lumps that just happen to come together in something that is layered, absolutely slathered, in meaning?

    Free Will and Behavioral Genetics, Bryan Caplan | EconLog | Library of Economics and Liberty

  • And that ‘unusualness’ could be anything: beauty, ugliness, deformity, eccentricity…..anything.

    The picture not taken « knitnut.net

  • I use the backside of a ladle when straining anything with a sieve and it works wonders with everything, gravy, custard, raspberries..anything at all.

    mixed berry pavlova | smitten kitchen

  • I would have done anything for him… anything… because wether or not we could be…

    ugotsoul Diary Entry

  • They are heated and air conditioned by a solar plant that tops anything - you hear me, _anything_ - that we have today.

    Ring Around the Sun

  • I will do anything -- _anything_, HILDA, to provide you with agreeable entertainment.

    Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 104, March 25, 1893

  • He may have done anything -- _anything_ to get the

    The Furnace of Gold

  • In the meantime, don't be surprised at anything that happens, and by that I mean _anything_.

    The Galaxy Primes

  • "Wiggs," he said solemnly, "if ever you can do anything to annoy that woman, such as making her an apple-pie bed, or _anything_ like that, I wish you'd do it."

    Once on a Time

  • "Oh, if anything, anything, _anything_ would happen!" she breathed, stretching out both arms toward the snowy shrubbery-broken expanse behind the house which in summer was her garden.

    Under the Country Sky

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