Definition 2022


do without



do without (third-person singular simple present does without, present participle doing without, simple past and past participle done without)

  1. Used other than as an idiom: see do, without.
    If you are prepared to do without a break in summer, we could have a really good skiing holiday in winter.
  2. To manage despite the lack of something.
    During the Great Depression, she learned to do without.

Usage notes

  • There is a special idiomatic use with the modal can. See can do without, and could do without.
  • The negative is normally formed using can't. I can't do without my summer break. Other modal verbs can be used for different intonations of the negative aspect.