all / ôl/ • adj. & pron. used to refer to the whole quantity or extent of a particular group or thing: [as adj.] 10% of all cars sold [as pron.] carry all of the blame the men are all bearded. ∎ [adj.] any whatever: he denied all knowledge. ∎ [adj.] used to emphasize the greatest possible amount of a quality: they were in all probability completely unaware with all due respect. ∎ inf. dominated by a particular feature or characteristic: an eleven-year-old string bean, all elbows and knees. ∎ [pron.] the only thing (used for emphasis): all I want is to be left alone. ∎ [pron.] (used to refer to surroundings or a situation in general) everything: it was all very strange. ∎ inf. used to indicate more than one person or thing: a team of specialists who all know the patient. ∎ dial. consumed; finished; gone: the cake is all. • adv. 1. used for emphasis: ∎ completely: she's been all around the world. ∎ consisting entirely of: all leather jacket. 2. (in games) used after a number to indicate an equal score: after extra time it was still two all. • n. the whole of one's possessions, energy, or interest: giving their all. PHRASES: all along all the time; from the beginning: she'd known all along. all around (Brit. also all round) 1. in all respects: it was a bad day all around. 2. for or by each person: drinks all around. all but 1. very nearly: the subject was all but forgotten. 2. all except: we have support from all but one of the networks. all for inf. strongly in favor of: I was all for tolerance. all in inf. exhausted: he was all in by halftime. all in all everything considered; on the whole: all in all it's been a good year. all kinds (or sorts) of many different kinds of: how to install paneling on all kinds of walls. all manner ofsee manner. all of as much as (typically used ironically of a quantity considered small by the speaker): the show lasted all of six weeks. all of a suddensee sudden. all out using all one's strength or resources: going all out to win | [as adj.] an all-out effort. all over 1. completely finished: it's all over between us. 2. inf. everywhere: there were bodies all over. ∎ with reference to all parts of the body: I was shaking all over. 3. inf. typical of the person mentioned: that's our management all over! 4. inf. effusively attentive to (someone): James was all over her. all over the place (or map) inf. everywhere: we've been all over the place looking for you. ∎ in a state of disorder: my hair was all over the place. all sorts ofsee all kinds of above. all that ——see that. all the samesee same. all the ——see the (sense 6). all there inf. in full possession of one's mental faculties: he's not quite all there. all the timesee time. all together all in one place or in a group; all at once: 5,000 people all together. Compare with altogether. all told in total: they tried a dozen times all told. all very well inf. used to express criticism or rejection of a favorable or consoling remark: your proposal is all very well in theory. all the way inf. without limit or reservation: I'm with you all the way. See also go all the way at way. —— and all used to emphasize something additional that is being referred to: she threw her coffee over him, mug and all. ∎ inf. as well: it must hit him hard, being so young and all. at all (used for emphasis) in any way; to any extent: I don't like him at all. be all up withsee up. for all —— in spite of ——: for all its clarity and style, the book is not easy reading. in all in total number; altogether: there were about 5,000 people in all. of allsee of. on all fourssee four. one and allsee one.
all good things come to an end a reflection on the transitory nature of human experience, especially when it is pleasant. The saying is recorded from the 15th century, but the addition of ‘good’ is a recent development; earlier forms can be compared with everything has an end.
all-singing all dancing with every possible attribute, able to perform any necessary function; a phrase applied particularly in the area of computer technology, but originally coming from descriptions of show business acts. The term may derive ultimately from a series of posters produced in 1929 to promote the new sound cinema such as that advertising the Hollywood musical Broadway Melody, which proclaimed the words All talking All singing All dancing.
All Souls' Day a Catholic festival with prayers for the souls of the dead in Purgatory, held on 2 November.
all things are possible with God saying, recorded from the late 17th century, which alludes to the biblical verse in Matthew 19:24 (Authorised Version), ‘with God all things are possible.’ Homer in the Odyssey has ‘with the gods all things can be done.’
all things come to those who wait proverb of the mid 16th century advocating the productive effects of patience.
be all things to all men be able or try to please everybody, often with an implication of duplicity; originally probably in allusion to 1 Corinthians 9:22.
it takes all sorts to make a world early 17th-century proverb, often used in recognition of the different standards and practices of another person.
See also all cats are grey in the dark at cat, all is fish that comes to the net, all hands on deck, all roads lead to Rome at Rome, all's well that ends well, all work and no play, all the world and his wife.