but for (something)

but for (something)

Except for something; if not for something. That major home repair would have sent me into debt but for my emergency fund.
See also: but

but for someone or something

if it were not for someone or something. But for the railing, I'd have fallen down the stairs. But for the children, Mrs. Smith would have left her husband years ago.
See also: but

but for

Except for, were it not for. For example, But for the afternoon shower, it was a perfect day, or But for the children, they would have gotten a divorce long ago. [c. 1200]
See also: but

but for

Were it not for: except for: We would have reached the summit but for the weather.
See also: but