All but unknown

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Ригель

Member
Finnish
Hey, I came across the following in a book and the point that the author seems to try to make doesn't seem to follow from the wording:

"[The work is] remarkable because it openly criticizes its heroes, a practice that is all but unknown among ancient Near Eastern kings."

It seems to me that the point he's trying to make is that in the ancient Near East the practice of criticizing one's heroes was unkown, thus, a work from the ancient Near East that does crticize its heroes is remarkable. But from what I understand by the words he employs is that this type of work is "all but unknown" which is to say "known", hence, it's not remarkable.

Am I missunderstanding something or is the wording contradictive in the quote?
 
  • pob14

    Senior Member
    American English
    I used the search box above to look for "all but," and came up with 20 or more threads on the topic.

    Short version: If something is "all but unknown," it's "almost completely unknown;" that is, very rare.
     

    Elym97

    Member
    USA
    Castellano, Peru
    The phrase "all but" is the same "everything but". In other words, all but unknown means they were very well known.
     

    sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    I used the search box above to look for "all but," and came up with 20 or more threads on the topic.

    Short version: If something is "all but unknown," it's "almost completely unknown;" that is, very rare.
    :thumbsup: :thumbsup: Precisely
    The phrase "all but" is the same "everything but". In other words, all but unknown means they were very well known.
    :thumbsdown: :thumbsdown: No, it does not. See POB14's post.

    See also this existing discussion on the same question:

    "was all but unknown "
     
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