1. To the exclusion of all else. Tom talks about nothing but sports whenever I see him. My toddler is so fussy. At the moment, he'll eat nothing but cheese and drink nothing but apple juice.
2. A large quantity of or exclusively (the thing that has just been inquired about). Typically used hyperbolically. A: "Do you have any extra pens?" B: "Nothing but! Take your pick."
Under no circumstances; I will not permit it; absolutely not. A: "Mom, can I borrow the car this Saturday?" B: "After the dent you left in it the last time? Nothing doing!"
only; just. Jane drinks nothing but milk. Dave buys nothing but expensive clothes.
(There ain't) nothin' to it.
Rur. It is easy. Mary: How do you keep your car so shiny? Tom: There ain't nothin' to it. I just wax it once a week. It took Jane just two minutes to sew up the hole in my shirt. "See?" she said. "Nothin' to it!"
Only, as in She thinks of nothing but money. This term was first recorded about 1380.
Certainly not, as in Can I borrow your down coat?-Nothing doing. This colloquial interjection was first recorded in 1910. Also see, no dice.
nothing doing1 there is no prospect of success or agreement. 2 nothing is happening. informal
ˈnothing butonly: Nothing but the freshest vegetables are used in our restaurant.
ˌnothing ˈdoing(informal) used to refuse a request: ‘Can you lend me ten dollars?’ ‘Nothing doing!’