Meaning of néant in English:


Pronunciation /ˈneɪɑːnt/


  • Nothingness, emptiness.

    In modern usage (also with the French definite article prefixed) usually an allusion to the philosophical ideas of Jean-Paul Sartre, as expressed in L'Être et le Néant (Being & Nothingness, 1943).


Mid 19th century. From French néant non-being (1647 in Descartes; 1170 in Old French in sense ‘illusion’, late 12th century in Old French in sense ‘emptiness, godlessness’; earlier as adverb in sense ‘not at all’, and as pronoun in negations in sense ‘nothing’), of uncertain origin.