I seem to have a phrase in my head for a long time that i can't remember where I picked it up.

It will boot you none to attempt this/try.

The implication being that there will be no advantage or benefit in trying or doing something.

Anybody else use it this way? I can't find a reference cause Google results are clogged with modern technical computer related results. Is this a weird personal Mandela effect thing I came up with?

  • Google Books turns up a few obscure uses of "will boot you little" or "will boot you nothing" from the late 1800s / early 1900s, but no sources that you'd be likely to read. No results for "boot you none". Nov 15, 2022 at 5:06
  • "It boots nothing to avoid his snares, for they are ever beset with other snares, and life and death are too intimately intergrown to be severed from each other." —Mhoram's cryptic advice, given to Thomas Covenant in Andelain in The Wounded Land.
    – B. Goddard
    Nov 15, 2022 at 13:50
  • Zenitsu, "boot you nothing" is the usual phrase. I have never heard "boot you none" and it's likely you remember it wrong. "boot you nothing" is a common phrase.
    – Fattie
    Nov 15, 2022 at 14:53
  • 1
    @B.Goddard - what do you mean by cryptic? What's cryptic about that sentence? (BTW, I happened to meet that Donaldson guy when he gave a talk at college. Everyone was asking complicated psychological questions and I asked if he used an electric or manual typewriter!)
    – Fattie
    Nov 15, 2022 at 15:11
  • 1
    @MichaelHarvey - he loved his electric typewriter!
    – Fattie
    Nov 15, 2022 at 16:44

2 Answers 2


This wasn't in the first online dictionary I looked in, so here's an answer.

boot ... [2] [verb] (1) booted; booting; boots

[archaic]: avail, profit


The sense is very rare nowadays, except in stylised historical fiction, poetry etc where 'What boots it?' ('What does that matter?' / 'What's the point?') may be encountered.

It is used by Milton in Lycidas [BBC Poetry] (beware the misplaced PP):

... Alas! what boots it with uncessant care

To tend the homely slighted shepherd's trade,


'will avail you none' (for which there are a handful of hits in a Google search) shows the 'none' = 'nothing' archaism :

none [1 of 4] [pronoun]

singular or plural in construction ...4: no part : NOTHING


[Actually, 'avail you not' is almost as common as 'avail you nothing', so one could argue for the adverb intercategorial polyseme of 'none' (= 'not at all') here.]

  • 9
    Maybe "And it's healthy, to boot" relates in meaning: for further advantage. Nov 14, 2022 at 21:29
  • It is also used as a noun for 'payment, tangible benefit' in US (Federal) tax practice; in particular if a public (stock) corporation is acquired solely for (acquirer) stock it is usually not taxable to stockholders (at the time; it retains the prior basis for possible future tax), whereas if acquired for stock plus cash or other property, a stockholder must recognize (and pay tax on) gain but only up to the value of the cash/property, and this is informally(?) called 'gain within boot'. The first time I encountered this I thought they meant the boot you wear on your foot :-) Nov 15, 2022 at 6:18
  • @YosefBaskin Indeed, the use of "to boot" to mean "in addition" derives from this usage, although it seems to have lost its positive connotation and may also indicate additional negative aspects. Nov 15, 2022 at 14:17
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    @NuclearHoagie the phrase "and it's _ _, to boot" is entirely, totally, 100% positive. It's identical to saying "and on top of that, it's _ _ _".
    – Fattie
    Nov 15, 2022 at 14:59
  • 1
    @Fattie: It's an intensifier, and whether it is positive or negative depends on what it is used to intensify. It certainly is not always a positive thing.
    – Ben Voigt
    Nov 15, 2022 at 17:12

"Boot" means profits. (As in pirate "booty", say.) Hence the common phrase "boots you nothing."

OP misheard "none" for "nothing".

"... boot you nothing"


"... boots you nothing"

is a commonplace phrase.

"... none" is a mishearing, it would be meaningless. ("None profit" is meaningless.)

An example usage, yesterday at work someone was talking about reprogramming a device (which has almost no sales, nobody uses it) and someone said "that will boot you nothing".

Another example, I notice in the US sports radio talkers often use this phrase. ("Team X to acquire player Y - hopeless, that will boot them nothing.")


Unrelated to your question:

Be aware that many contributors here assert "boots you nothing" is an archaic idiom.

Boot (unrelated) means "moreover". Hence the unrelated phrase ".. to boot".

"The food was expensive, and bad to boot." ... moreover.


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