The strategy for Brexit, which is due to be triggered in less than three months, remains undefined in any but the vaguest terms, and seems increasingly chaotic.

Source: The Economist

What does it mean? Does it mean the strategy remains in very clear terms (not vague terms)? Then why does it say it seems chaotic if it is very clear? It doesn't appear to make sense to me.

  • I think it would mean "undefined in the vaguest ways", any but = no other thing but only *****
    – user17814
    Jun 17, 2017 at 12:11
  • @KentaroTomono But it says "anything but" means complete opposite.
    – jack bang
    Jun 17, 2017 at 12:20
  • I don't think you can put as "in anything but XXX", then if you put as "in an anything but the vaguest ways", it can be clearer.
    – user17814
    Jun 17, 2017 at 12:52

1 Answer 1


X remains undefined in any [terms] but the vaguest terms.

Except for the vaguest of terms which have been used to define it, X remains undefined.

X remains defined in no terms but the vaguest terms.

X remains defined in none but the vaguest of terms.

The only terms used to define X are as vague as can be.

P.S. Notice the negative un- + any vs. positive + no|none

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