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https://twitter.com/StevenTDennis/status/1359545601852071938 says

“You called Senator Sanders everything but an ignorant slut,” Senator Kennedy said.

“That is not true,” Tanden said.

Does "everything but an ignorant slut" mean "not an ignorant slut"?

Did he mean to say “You called Senator Sanders nothing but an ignorant slut” instead?

Thanks.

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    It means Tanden called Sanders all bad things except ignorant slut. Note that "ignorant slut" is a trope that goes back to the early days of Saturday Night Live in which Dan Aykroyd and Jane Curtin portray a political commentary "right/left" duo and Aykroyd calls Curtin an "ignorant slut" instead of responding with any sort of reasoned discourse. See this video. It all seems somehow very tame compared with the tenor of today's political animosity.
    – Robusto
    Feb 10, 2021 at 17:36
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    You are asking if everything means nothing? Feb 10, 2021 at 17:38
  • Does this previous answer help you? Feb 10, 2021 at 18:08
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    Does this answer your question? What is the difference between "nothing but", "anything but", and "everything but"?
    – user 66974
    Feb 10, 2021 at 18:58
  • @Cascabel His sentence meant that she didn't call Sanders that. But I think he wanted to say she did. I think he mispoke
    – Tim
    Feb 10, 2021 at 19:31

1 Answer 1

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“You called Senator Sanders everything but an ignorant slut,” Senator Kennedy said.

Does "everything but an ignorant slut" mean "not an ignorant slut"?

No. But = except.

OED

C. conj. I. In a simple sentence, introducing a word, phrase, or (rarely) a clause which is excepted from the general statement. With the exception of, apart from, except, save.

2013 Arab Stud. Jrnl. 21 96 My heartfelt thanks go to the following readers for their helpful engagement with this essay, however, none but I bear responsibility for its frailties.

1934 Cairns Post (Austral.) 29 May 4/5 This gangster's scheme will benefit nobody but the silver producers.

2003 Daily Mirror 1 Apr. 47/1 None but an eccentric few give a hoot.

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