I've come across it in the second episode of the second season of the Walking Dead. Here is the context:

Otis: Nearest hospital went up in flames a month ago. The High School

Hershel: That's what I was thinking. They set up a fema shelter there. They would have everything we need

Otis: Place was overrun last time I saw it. You couldn't get near it. Maybe It's better now

Shane: I said,leave the rest to me. Is It too late to take that back?

Rick: I hate you going alone

Shane: Come on. Doc,why don't you do me a list and draw me a map?

Otis: You won't need a map. I'll take you there. Ain't but five miles.

  • It's a dialectal "double negation", where but = only (it is [NOT] only 5 miles) - same as I ain't got no money (I have [NOT] no money). Aug 31, 2020 at 12:17

1 Answer 1


"Ain't but" (is not but) is an American rural dialect colloquialism meaning "is only". The speaker could also have said "it is but five miles" with the same meaning. Consider "but" to mean "only" when used this way.

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