Hello All
One of my sisters puts "Not for nothing..." in front of about everything she says, especially when she's angry about something. I ask her what that means, but she admits she has no idea. I heard Leo say it on a rerun of the West Wing the other night. What does this mean?
Thx.

Regards,
Anthony Giorgianni
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Hello All One of my sisters puts "Not for nothing..." in front of about everythingshe says, especially when she's angry ... no idea. I heard Leo say it on a rerun ofthe West Wing the other night. What does this mean?

It's just verbal filler.
My favorite nonsensical saying is "blood is thicker than water". What does the viscosity of blood or water have to do with anything? I know how it's used, and even when it was supposedly first uttered and by who, but it still puzzles me.
One of my sisters puts "Not for nothing..." in front of about everything she says, especially when she's angry about something. I ask her what that means, but she admits she has no idea.

If she doesn't know what it means, she needs to stop saying it.

"Not for nothing" literally means "for something". Idiomatically, I would use it when I'd invested a great deal of my resources into a particular outcome and some jackass wanted to prevent my achieving that outcome. It indicates frustration or fear of loss on some level. I might say, "Not for nothing have I invested my (time, energy, money, blood, sweat, tears, etc.) into this project. Get out of my way or I'll push your ears together." Or something like that.

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If I recall correctly, "not for nothing" is used when you're about to say something
that the other person will probably disagree with. Typically, you're offering advice
that's prefaced with "Not for nothing..but etc, etc."

As far as "blood is thicker than water"..it's very clear what that means. Family
ties, with people who have the same blood, are far more important than non-family
relationships. Used in any other context is, well, not correct.

Adrian
Hello All One of my sisters puts "Not for nothing..." in front of about everything she says, especially when she's ... idea. I heard Leo say it on a rerun of the West Wing the other night. What does this mean?

Properly used in its traditional meaning, it means "for some reason." "Not for nothing did Sir Edmund Hillary climb Mt. Everest." He had some reason for doing so. Of course, it may have developed a vogue use that hasn't made the reference books yet. Keeping up gets harder all the time.
When you find yourself hearing the same phrase repeatedly from the same person, it probably has lost what little meaning it ever had. I knew a fellow at work (he retired a few years ago) who had a habit of inserting "so-called" into his speech once or twice per sentence: "I got in my so-called car and drive to the so-called grocery." It meant absolutely nothing when he said it.
You may have encountered something similar with your sister's use of "not for nothing." Then again, she may occasionally mean something by it, maybe even its actual dictionary meaning.

Bob Lieblich
Not for nothing did I post this (I thought it might help, and it gives me a chance to show off)
Yes, I should have added the "but."
She might say, for example, "not for nothin', but that John doesn't even bother calling his father
or
Not for nothin', but I'm get pretty tired listening to her say not for nothin.
After reading here, I'm maybe if it is supposed to be "not for anything."

Not for anything ... meaning something like I know you're paying me or asking me for this advice or comment? Or I'm not offering this comment at anyone's prodding, it's just my own opinion or offered at my own volition? But than I don't understand the "...but" that follows.

Not for nothin, but I don't know. Emotion: surprise)

Regards,
Anthony Giorgianni
The return address for this post is fictitious. Please reply by posting back to the newsgroup.
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As far as "blood is thicker than water"..it's very clear what that means. Family ties, with people who have the same blood, are far more important than non-family relationships.

aND IT's true in most cases. One time I noticed it in particular was the day of my uncle's funeral. I saw him every 2 or 3 years since I moved to the east coast, but his kids were never home when I visited. I hadn't seen his daughter, my cousin, in 36 years, since she was 10, and her brother only once in that time. I still felt very close to them
Used in any other context is, well, not correct. Adrian

s/ meirman If you are emailing me please
say if you are posting the same response.
Born west of Pittsburgh Pa. 10 years
Indianapolis, 7 years
Chicago, 6 years
Brooklyn NY 12 years
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Maybe as a beverage. CB
Yes, I should have added the "but." She might say, for example, "not for nothin', but that John doesn't even bother calling his father or Not for nothin', but I'm get pretty tired listening to her say not for nothin.

It's hard to say if this is just a habit in these cases, or if she means what she says. You could ask her.
The first one would mean that John doesn't bother calling his father because he has what the speaker thinks is good reason not to. Or at least John thinks it's a good reason, or at least there is a clear non-trivial reason. Most likely, it's the first, the speaker thinks so.
The second would mean that "I", you, have a good reason for being tired of listening to her. Or at least you think you do.

You feel this way not for nothing, but for something, something reasonable.
The phrase is like a lot of double-negatives, such as "Accidents are not infrequent at this intersection." "Drugs are not uncommon at college." This has a special name as a figure of speech. It's especially likely to be used when the speaker doesn't want to make a strong or specific statement. He doesn't want to say how common drugs are, just that they're not uncommon.
One doesn't want to say how important the reason for doing something was, important, very important, life or death, just that it's not for nothing.
After reading here, I'm maybe if it is supposed to be "not for anything."

That's another phrase. "Not for anything would I betray my country."
Not for anything ... meaning something like I know you're paying me or asking me for this advice or comment? ... it's just my own opinion or offered at my own volition? But than I don't understand the "...but" that follows.

Back to "not for nothing", I think the but is not necessary as you write the sentences, but it might be left over from a previously used style of sentence: "It's not for nothing (that Bob has hard feelings for his father), but he doesn't even call him, but Bob doesn't even call his father.
(When you say "that Bob" I figure you are identifying Bob, not using "that" as a conjunction or whatever to introduce the following clause.
Not for nothin, but I don't know. Emotion: surprise)

s/ meirman If you are emailing me please
say if you are posting the same response.
Born west of Pittsburgh Pa. 10 years
Indianapolis, 7 years
Chicago, 6 years
Brooklyn NY 12 years
Baltimore 20 years
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