Jake’s no fool – anything but!

Peter SLP

Senior Member
Dear all,

In this sentence 'anything but' means that Jake is not a fool???
'Jake’s no fool – anything but!'
  • Barque

    Senior Member
    Yes, that's right. He's anything but a fool. It's a set phrase used for emphasis.

    He might be many things, but a fool isn't one of them.
    Whatever he is, he isn't a fool.


    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    I would say it means the opposite. It's not just that he's not a fool, he's all the way at the other end. Fool can have different meanings so it depends on context but he isn't anywhere near the fool end.

    A more concrete example:

    - Is he short?
    - He's anything but short.

    That means he's tall, or at the very least, noticeably taller than average.


    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    If it helps, the sentence involves ellipsis (omission of the rest of the clause), and but there means 'except'.
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