but for (something)

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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, for
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, for
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, for
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 somebody/something

except for somebody/something; without somebody/something: But for a brief period after leaving college, he had never been unemployed.But for you, we would not have been able to start up the business.
See also: but, for, somebody, something
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

but for

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