1. one, a, an, or some; one or more without specification or identification: If you have any witnesses, produce them. Pick out any six you like.
  2. whatever or whichever it may be: cheap at any price.
  3. in whatever quantity or number, great or small; some: Do you have any butter?
  4. every; all: Any schoolboy would know that. Read any books you find on the subject.
  5. (following a negative) at all: She can’t endure any criticism.


  1. an unspecified person or persons; anybody; anyone: He does better than any before him.
  2. a single one or ones; an unspecified thing or things; a quantity or number: We don’t have any left.


  1. in whatever degree; to some extent; at all: Do you feel any better?
  1. any which way, in any manner whatever; indifferently or carelessly: Doing your work any which way is just not good enough.


    1. one, some, or several, as specified, no matter how much or many, what kind or quality, etcany cheese in the cupboard is yours; you may take any clothes you like
    2. (as pronoun; functioning as sing or plural)take any you like
  1. (usually used with a negative)
    1. even the smallest amount or even oneI can’t stand any noise
    2. (as pronoun; functioning as sing or plural)don’t give her any
  2. whatever or whichever; no matter what or whichany dictionary will do; any time of day
  3. an indefinite or unlimited amount or number (esp in the phrases any amount or number)any number of friends


  1. (usually used with a negative)
    1. (foll by a comparative adjective)to even the smallest extentit isn’t any worse now
    2. not standardat allhe doesn’t care any

Old English ├Žnig “any, anyone,” literally “one-y,” from Proto-Germanic *ainagas (cf. Old Saxon enig, Old Norse einigr, Old Frisian enich, Dutch enig, German einig), from PIE *oi-no- “one, unique” (see one). The -y may have diminutive force here.

Emphatic form any old ______ (British variant: any bloody ______) is recorded from 1896. At any rate is recorded from 1847. Among the large family of compounds beginning with any-, anykyn “any kind” (c.1300) did not survive, and Anywhen (1831) is rarely used, but OED calls it “common in Southern [British] dialects.”

In addition to the idioms beginning with any

  • any day
  • any longer
  • any number of
  • any old
  • any port in a storm

also see:

  • at any rate
  • by any means
  • go to any length
  • in any case
  • under any (no) circumstances

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