Printable Version
Pronunciation: no(u) Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective, interjection

Meaning: 1. (Adjective) Absent any, not any, none, 'There is no excuse for'. 2. (Adjective) Prohibited, forbidden, "No parking." 3. (Adjective) Nothing like, not, "She's no fool." 4. (Interjection) A negative response to a yes-no question: "Are you cold?" "No." 5. (Interjection) Expressing disagreement, surprise, doubt: "No, I don't think so." "No! You don't say?" 6. (Noun) A disagreement, dissent in reporting the results of a vote, "The noes have it."

Notes: Notice that when this word is used as a noun, the plural ends on -es: noes. No can express any kind of negation expressible by an adjective or interjection. It may also be found as a prefix in pronouns like nobody, nowhere, and nothing. It comes with an adverb, not, as in 'not going' and 'not red'.

In Play: I've given sentential examples in the Meaning above. However, here is a sentence illustrating the difference between no and not: "It's not painful", but "There is no pain." (Adverbs modify adjectives and verbs; adjectives modify only nouns.)

Word History: Today's Good Word descends from Old English na from Proto-Indo-European ne "not". The PIE word picked up an initial vowel as a prefix in some languages, such as Latin in-, Greek a(n)-, and English un-. German nicht "not, nothing" derived from Proto-Germanic ne + wiht "thing". English nix was borrowed from German nichts "nothing". Russian uses negative particles with and without a T, but just the opposite of English. Net = "no" and ne = "not": Net, ya ètogo ne delal "No, I this not did = No, I didn't do it." In the Indic languages we find na "no" and nathi "not" in Gujurati, Hindi nahin "no, not" and Sinhala nomæta "no" and næta "not". So, the remnants of the PIE word and its derivations are found in all the Indo-European languages. (Janet Ann Collins thought we might be interested in small Good Words like today's. Others have indicated they agree. We hope you're one of those.)

Dr. Goodword,

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