Grammar 7 min read

Notwithstanding: What it Means and How to use it Best

Main Notwithstanding Takeaways:

  • Notwithstanding means despite, nevertheless, however, or although.
  • You can use this word as a preposition, as a conjunction, or as an adverb.
  • A common legal phrase is notwithstandinganything to the contrary.”
  • Antonyms include because of, given, consequently, and accordingly.

Notwithstanding is a complex word. If you’re not sure what it means or when to use it, you’re not alone. In this guide, you’ll get a detailed notwithstandingdefinition as well as plenty of synonyms and antonyms. You’ll also see how and when to apply the word so you look (and sound) like a Pro.

Notwithstandinghis broken heart, Victor continued writing idiom-laced articles about love.
Her teacher’s reactionnotwithstanding, Sarah decided to give her first recital.
She didn’t apologize,notwithstandinghe’d waited for two hours.

Not and Withstanding stumble into a bar and flop dramatically over the counter. The barman says, “Is this some kind of dangling preposition?”

Notwithstanding surrounded by its synonyms in spite of, however, anyhow, be that as it may, all the same, though, and nonetheless.
Notwithstanding was derived from two Middle English words: not and withstonding. In modern English, it’s commonly used as a preposition.

What Does it Mean to Say Notwithstanding?

Notwithstanding means despite, nevertheless, however, or although. In modern English, this term is used most commonly as a preposition (His sprained anklenotwithstanding, Marcus hobbled over the finish line). You can also use notwithstanding as a conjunction (“Nobody noticed the ancient book,notwithstandingits previous place in the museum display”) and as an adverb (Bert hates the logo and the audio sequence, but we will press onnotwithstanding).

(Preposition): Notwithstandingthe hairpin bend, Jane got her dirt bike to the end of the learner’s obstacle course in one piece.
(Conjunction) He managed to make all 50 cupcakes, notwithstanding the lack of eggs on hand.
(Adverb) Bert hates the logo and the audio sequence, but we will press onnotwithstanding.

To understand and define notwithstanding properly, we need to pull it apart a little.

Many might expect that notwithstanding is made of three words: not, with, and standing.

In fact, it has its origins in twoMiddle English words: not and withstonding (from withstonden, meaning to withstand). A solid preposition in the 14th century, notwithstonding/notwithstanding slipped into common use as an adverb and a conjunction in the 15th century.

What Does Notwithstanding Mean in Legal Terms?

Notwithstanding generally means nevertheless, although, despite, or in spite of in legal writing. Its meaning in legal documents doesn’t change — it’s still just another word for nevertheless. Notwithstanding anything to the contrary,” for example, means that a clause overrides anything that might later contradict it. This and other multisyllabic connectors like inasmuch are common in legal writing like contracts, official reports, judgments, and other legal documents.

Examples of the word notwithstanding in legal documents might include:

Notwithstandinganything to the contrary, company dividends will be paid by the end of the calendar year.
Notwithstandingthe foregoing events, my client wishes to plead innocent.
Her previous statementnotwithstanding, my client now views the situation differently and wants to pay the fine.
NotwithstandingSection 8 of the contract, former employees must refrain from forming new usage partnerships in a similar field for 12 months.
The respondent has not come to court this morning, but we will log his absence and continue the proceedingsnotwithstanding.
Two panels in one image. First panel is labeled preposition and shows a lawyer talking to his client. He's saying "Notwithstanding the evidence, the jury doesn't seem convinced." Second panel is labeled adverb and shows two young men talking. The blond guy is saying "The offer was great! Notwithstanding, I refused it."
Notwithstanding is commonly used as a preposition. However, it can also function as an adverb.

How Do You Use Notwithstanding in a Sentence?

Notwithstanding is considered a formal term in the English language. Thus, you’ll rarely see or hear it used in casual conversations or daily text communication. However, if you’re wondering how you can use notwithstanding correctly in a sentence, here’s a quick tip. You can use notwithstanding in place of in spite of, nevertheless, regardless, and despite.

Here are some examples of how you can use notwithstanding in a sentence:

Regardless of the fact that Joy was grounded, she still went to the party.
Notwithstanding the fact that Joy was grounded, she still went to the party.
Jake was a good sport, despite his awful loss.
Jake was a good sport, notwithstanding his awful loss.
We went to church in spite of the weather.
We went to church notwithstanding the weather.

What is Another Word for Notwithstanding?

There are plenty of synonyms for notwithstanding in the thesaurus, and they include nevertheless, despite, regardless of, however, nonetheless, even so, whereas, albeit, and many more. The substitute word or phrase will depend on whether you’re using notwithstanding as a conjunction, an adverb, or a preposition.

The Best Notwithstanding Synonyms:

  • At any rate
  • However
  • After all
  • For all that
  • Regardless of
  • In any event
  • At any rate
  • In any case
  • All the same
  • Regardless
  • Still
  • Despite
  • In spite of
  • To the contrary
  • Nevertheless
  • Nonetheless
  • Even
  • But
  • Although
  • Yet
  • Howbeit
  • Though

In the following examples, we replaced the word notwithstanding with one of its synonyms, which you’ll see in bold:

Regardless ofhis headache, Rich decided to brainstorm his book title.
In spite ofher father’s skepticism, Cindy Lou Who insisted that the Grinch was a good person.
A ghost suddenly appeared in the entry;nonetheless, Wednesday Addams felt unmoved and continued her game of noughts and crosses.
He couldn’t remember her face,althoughshe’d been living next door for months.
Even so, Bridget thought Carl Harper had a right to take part in the quiz.

How Do You End a Sentence with Notwithstanding?

You can end a sentence with notwithstanding. Where this word appears in a sentence often depends on which part of speech it is. For example, when at the beginning of a sentence, it’s usually acting as a preposition (“Notwithstanding her lack of sleep, she gave a great performance”). When in the middle of a sentence, it’s usually a conjunction (“They hiked all morning, notwithstanding the rainy weather”). When you end a sentence with notwithstanding, it’s usually an adverb that helps add nuance to your statement (“He didn’t have time to review her resume. He hired her, notwithstanding”).

Notwithstanding means in spite of, regardless of, or without being opposed by.
Notwithstanding means in spite of, regardless of, or without being opposed by.

What Is the Opposite of Notwithstanding?

Antonyms of notwithstanding are a little harder to define, but they include: because of, thanks to, given, owing to, and in the wake of. Consequently, therefore, accordingly, and subsequently are also antonyms. Since notwithstanding means “regardless of,” the opposite is “because of.”

Opposites of notwithstanding include:

As a preposition:

  • because of
  • thanks to
  • as a result of
  • due to
  • as a consequence of
  • through
  • given
  • owing to
  • on the basis of
  • by reason of
  • on the grounds of
  • by virtue of
  • on account of
  • per
  • by means of
  • for the sake of
  • in the wake of
  • after

As a conjunction:

  • considering
  • given that
  • being that
  • seeing that
  • after all

As an adverb:

  • therefore
  • hence
  • consequently
  • so
  • thus
  • ergo
  • accordingly
  • subsequently
  • since
  • as a result
  • for this reason
  • because of that/this
  • that being the case
  • that’s why
  • on account of
  • due to the fact
  • as you can see

Notwithstanding’s Placement in a Sentence:

  • At the beginning: Preposition
  • In the middle: Conjunction
  • At the end: Adverb

Here are some examples of opposites of notwithstanding in a sentence:

Giventhe current situation, we think it’s best to delay the Blues vs. Greens football game.
Markconsequentlyturned and ran out of the language class.
The onions continued to grow,owing toan application of seaweed fertilizer.
Subsequently, Pete made arrangements to leave the country.
People fostered a first-rate sense of communitybecause ofthe Great Depression.
If you replace any of the antonyms above with the word notwithstanding, you’ll flip the sentence meaning. Go on — try it.

Wrapping Up

Some words are hard to grasp at first, but they’re genuinely useful when you get to know them. Notwithstanding your first impressions of notwithstanding, we hope you’ll make this versatile word part of your lexicon.

A Quick Notwithstanding Quiz to Help you Master it

Notwithstanding Question #1

Which of these is NOT a synonym of “notwithstanding”?
Correct! Wrong!

The answer is C. “Consequently” is an antonym for “notwithstanding”.

Notwithstanding Question #2

Which of these statements is TRUE?
Correct! Wrong!

The answer is D. You can use “notwithstanding” as a preposition, as a conjunction, or as an adverb.

Define Notwithstanding Question #3

Notwithstanding has its origins in two Middle English words: “not” and “withstanding”.
Correct! Wrong!

The answer is TRUE. “Notwithstanding” slipped into everyday use as an adverb and conjunction in the 15th century.

Notwithstanding Meaning Question #4

"Notwithstanding" has a different meaning in legal terms.
Correct! Wrong!

The answer is B. In legal documents, “notwithstanding” is still another word for “nevertheless”.

Notwithstanding Question #5

Which word is incorrect a lack of found
Correct! Wrong!

The answer is D. This phrase means the opposite of “notwithstanding”.

Notwithstanding Quiz Result


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Read More: Linking Verbs .PDF + Easy Examples And Tricks

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Pam Weber

Pam is an expert grammarian with years of experience teaching English, Writing and ESL Grammar courses at the university level. She is enamored with all things language and fascinated with how we use words to shape our world.

Comments (5)
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  1. David Blood February 09 at 8:38 pm GMT

    The bill passed notwithstanding the strong opposition. I want it to say The bill passed withstanding the strong opposition. What am I missing?

    • Pam Weber Author March 11 at 8:46 pm GMT

      Hi David!
      Thanks for the question. “Notwithstanding” in your sentence means “despite” or “in spite of”. On the other hand, “withstanding” is a verb that means “remain undamaged or unaffected by; resist.”
      In the first sentence, the bill passed despite or in spite of the strong opposition. Meanwhile, the second sentence suggests that the bill resisted or remained unaffected by the strong opposition and passed successfully. While both sentences are correct, the meanings are slightly different. Thanks!

      • David Blood July 08 at 2:21 pm GMT

        The passing of the bill was affected, but not stopped by the opposition, right?

      • David Blood July 08 at 1:51 pm GMT

        Pam, thanks for responding, I appreciate it! The prefix “not” is what is bothering me. In my first sentence, is it alright if I interpret the meaning as “not” unaffected, in other words, it passed but it was affected by the opposition.

        • Rechelle Ann Fuertes July 19 at 12:00 pm GMT

          You’re welcome, David! Yes, saying “not unaffected” would be akin to saying it was affected by it. So, while it passed, opposition was voiced and thus had some impact or affect, even if it didn’t stop its passing.

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