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1. Everything or everyone, with the exclusion of. All but the freshmen were invited to the party. We sold all but the curtains in that estate sale.
2. Nearly. Public pay phones have all but disappeared in most major cities.
all but something
1. everyone or everything except those mentioned All but the weakest plants survived the hot weather.
2. almost In some places, bus service has all but disappeared.
Almost, nearly, as in I've all but finished the book. This expression was used by Andrew Marvell in "Thoughts in a Garden": " Society is all but rude, To this delicious solitude." [Late 1500s]
Nearly; almost: all but crying with relief.