at least not yet

Pavel Pin

Senior Member
Telugu
Russian gang member Chirkoff says to his gang about Malcolm and Trent, who saw him committing murder:

The FBI's run travel records, rental cars. Nothing. They haven't left the area, at least not yet.

What is the meaning of "at least not yet"?
Here "They" refers to Malcolm and Trent.

Source: Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son (2011)
 
  • Mrs JJJ

    Senior Member
    USA
    English (British)
    He is simply qualifying his statement. Malcolm and Trent haven't left the area yet. BUT they might do so very soon.

    Similarly, one might say:
    I don't eat meat - at least, not often.
    He hasn't got a job - at least I don't think he has.

    And so on.
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    The FBI's run travel records, rental cars. Nothing. They haven't left the area, at least not yet.
    What he means to say is: "The FBI has run (checked) travel records, rental cars. The FBI has found nothing. So we know they haven't left the area...well, at least we know they haven't left the area yet."

    That is extremely common in English. First we say (based on information we have) something hasn't happened. Then we change that to be more accurate, by saying at least we are sure it has not happened yet.

    That phrase has been said so many times, it has become shortened to "At least not yet."
     
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