Definitions

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

  • adv. Not ever; on no occasion; at no time: He had never been there before. You never can be sure.
  • adv. Not at all; in no way; absolutely not: Never fear. That will never do.
  • idiom never mind Don't bother: I was hoping for some help, but never mind, I'll do it alone.
  • idiom never mind Not to mention; and certainly not: I can't tread water, never mind swim.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adv. At no time; on no occasion; in no circumstance.
  • adv. Not at any other time; not on any other occasion; not previously.
  • adv. Negative particle (used to negate verbs in the simple past tense; also used absolutely).

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adv. Not ever; not at any time; at no time, whether past, present, or future.
  • adv. In no degree; not in the least; not.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Not ever; not at any time; at no time, whether past, present, or future.
  • In no degree; not at all; not a whit; not, emphatically.
  • [Never in this use, with the following indefinite article a, is equivalent to no, or none, and in the contracted form ne'er a is the source of the dialectal or slang adjectivc nary.
  • [In this idiom there is a suppressed comparison—‘never (at any other time) so (great, good, much, etc.) as in the case supposed or considered.’ Never, becoming merely emphatic, is now usually replaced by ever.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adv. not ever; at no time in the past or future
  • adv. not at all; certainly not; not in any circumstances

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old English nǣfre : ne, not; see ne in Indo-European roots + ǣfre, ever; see aiw- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Old English næfre (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • "What Ardi tells us is that we never looked like chimpanzees, we �never walked like chimpanzees."

    Catch a Pithecus by the Toe

  • I've never been a game player, just a reader, but something makes we want to read this one..never heard about it until today..anyone else heard anything about this?

    New Releases: Week of September 1, 2009

  • When it comes to establishment, is religion established more by an attitude that individuals, who do have religious freedom, are expected to actually *exercise* that particular muscle, or by ingraining in every faint heart the notion that you never *never* have to face the fact that others don't share your sentiments?

    Just in time for the election, Michael Newdow's "Under God" lawsuit is back, along with a challenge to "In God We Trust" on U.S. currency.

  • And definitely never drink and dial…..never a good idea….

    Think Progress » Burns next target in Abramoff probe?

  • And definitely never drink and dial…..never a good idea….

    Think Progress » Burns next target in Abramoff probe?

  • So, offering up a suggestion of biological causation of differences is never value-free a cigar is _never_ just a cigar and gives the supposed difference _way_ more credence than it ever deserves.

    Guest post by Mary Schweitzer

  • You never know when some nut is going to come out of the woodwork and claim you stole her idea, you're stalking George Clooney and you are drunk and disorderly on the balcony late at night...oh wait...those last two things..never mind.

    If I hold you harmless, will you hold it against me?

  • Ohhhh but not that I am blaming him, I never  never would, it's just that I wish everything was like it used to be and that he was still happy and alive and laughing and I could be too instead of feeling like this.

    sheepdip Diary Entry

  • I nodded off with my head on his chest, thinking I've never been happier, I'll never leave this man, I'll never leave this place, I'll never come down, never come down ... _never come down_.

    Never Come Down

  • I never, _never_ expected to see them again, and it was like some kind of bloody miracle, and you were the one who -- okay, Mrs. Gamadge says we'll both be crying in a minute so I better get on with it.

    Murder Crossed

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