but for (someone)

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but for (someone)

Except for someone; if not for someone. But for the support of my friends, I never would have survived that difficult time.
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Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

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
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

but for

Were it not for: except for: We would have reached the summit but for the weather.
See also: but
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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