anything but, nothing less/more than, more often than not etc.
I would like to know ""why"" the following phrases have such meanings:

- anything but (= definitely not)
-"everything but" (= definitely not)
Does "anything" mean "everything" here? But anything is used with not, like "I don't have anything". So it seems to mean nothing.
I know "But" here is served to mean an exception.

- no/nothing less than (=competely, exactly, surely)
- no/nothing more than (=only, just)
The above means "the same or more than something/that" and "not more than something/that" respectively and literally.
But I can't figure out why "the same or more than something/that" means the same as "completely/exactly/surely".
Why "not more than something/that" = "only/just"?

- more often than not (=meaning??)
I'm confused if the phrase the frequency of "more often than not" is any of the following:
- between "usually" and "often"
- over "usually"
- more or less the same as "usually"

And why does the above mean like that?

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- anything but (= definitely not) vs. "everything but" (= definitely not)

'I will drink anything except tequila' means any other item will serve; I do not drink tequila.
'I will drink everything except tequila' means all other items will serve; I do not drink tequila.

- no/nothing less than (=competely, exactly, surely); no/nothing more than (=only, just)

'I drink no less than one litre of milk a day' means that 1 litre is the minimum quantity; I may drink more, and I may be bragging.
'I will take nothing less than $10 for my used skis' means that $10 is the minimum price; I'll take more if I can get it.
'He is nothing less than the King of Spain!' means that he is precisely that monarch, and a respectable position it is.
'And he is rich, no less' means that he is also, to be complete, a wealthy king.

'He is no more than 20 years old' means that 20 is his maximum age; he may be younger.
'I have nothing more than the clothes I am wearing' means that my clothes are the most possessions that I can claim.
'Franklin had no more than a loaf of bread when he entered Philadelphia' means that the bread was his only possession.
'Don't be frightened-- it is nothing more than a mouse' means that it is precisely a mouse, nothing greater.

As you can see, there is a range of meanings, some of which are open to interpretation, so it up to the listener to decide which precisely is meant, within the context.

- more often than not (=meaning?)

'More often than not, I get hungry after class' means that at least over 50% of the time, and probably more frequently or maybe even usually, I do so. However, the adverbs of frequency cannot be so easily classified, Wai Wai-- in spite of the attempts some texts make at it. They are slipppery. How often do you brush your teeth? How often do we have Ice Ages? As I result, I do not like to draw little frequency graphs like: never
Hi. Thanks a lot.