Hypertext Webster Gateway: "unless"

From Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913) (web1913)

Unless \Un*less"\, conj. [Formerly, onles, onlesse, onlesse
that, that is, in less, in a less case. See {On}, and
Upon any less condition than (the fact or thing stated in the
sentence or clause which follows); if not; supposing that
not; if it be not; were it not that; except; as, we shall
fail unless we are industrious.

Note: By the omission of the verb in the dependent clause,
unless was frequently used prepositionally, -- a
construction common in Shakespeare and still employed

Here nothing breeds unless the nightly owl.

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