What does the idiom "have no option but" mean?

have no option but is an idiom used by many writers. When idioms are used in the right place, they open the doors of effective communication and increase your descriptive power. In this way, you will be better understood. The meaning of the expression have no option but is also remarkable in this respect.

Meaning of "have no option but"


The idiom ‘have no option but’ is used to describe a situation in which there is no other viable alternative available. In other words, when things are out of one’s control, the only course of action available is the one being suggested in the phrase, and there is no other way around it. It emphasizes that a particular action is necessary, regardless of what the person would like to do.


The phrase ‘have no option but’ is believed to have originated in the mid-1800’s and was first seen in print in the novel Bleak House by Charles Dickens. In the novel, the narrator uses the phrase in the context of being unable to choose a course of action due to being forced into a certain situation against his will.

Since then, the phrase has been used as a way to express an inability to do something without considering any other option. The phrase can be found in many other works of literature, including the Bible, and is still used today to express the same underlying sentiment.


‘Have no option but’ is commonly used to indicate that a particular course of action is necessary, even if one would not prefer to do it or if it appears risky. It suggests that a person has very limited choices and that they must take whatever action is necessary even if they don’t want to. This phrase can be used to describe any situation in which there is no other available choice, including work or personal matters.

The phrase can also be used to contrast one’s current situation with the alternatives that exist. For example, a person might say, “I have no option but to accept this job offer, since there are no other offers available.” This emphasizes that a person has exhausted all other possible alternatives and must reluctantly accept what is offered to them.

Example Sentences

  • I have no option but to take this train if I want to get to my destination on time.
  • We have no option but to accept the terms of the contract if we want to keep our business running.

The meanings of the words in the "have no option but" idiom

From One Language to Another: Idioms in Translation

Translating idioms from one language to another can be a tricky task, as the cultural context behind an idiom can be difficult to capture. For example, the French phrase "avoir le cafard" translates to "to have the cockroach," which means to feel down or depressed. Similarly, the Chinese idiom "????" (j?ng d? zh? w?) translates to "frog at the bottom of a well," which refers to someone with a narrow view of the world.


No comment has been written about have no option but yet, you can write the first comment and share your thoughts with our other visitors.
Leave a Reply