Idioms and Expressions - All

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The following English idioms and expressions use the word 'all'. Each idiom or expression has a definition and three example sentences to help your understanding of these common idiomatic expressions with 'all'. 


Definition: do something (for instance a study session) that lasts all night

  • We pulled an all-nighter to get ready for the exam.
  • The graduation party was an all-nighter.
  • I'm afraid I'm going to have to pull an all-nighter to get the report ready for tomorrow.

    All over something

    Definition: very fond of something

    • He's all over the latest fashions.
    • Peter's all over antique furniture.
    • I'm all over that author's works.

    All right (!)

    Definition: Yes, okay, fine

    • That's all right by me!
    • All right! I got an A+ on my term paper.
    • I think he's all right with the changes we foresee. 

    All shook up

    Definition: extremely excited, worried, or disturbed about something

    • He's all shook up about his mother's illness.
    • Wow! I'm all shook up about Alice.
    • I don't want you to get all shook up over the news.

    All that and then some

    Definition: even more than what has been mentioned

    • He did all that and then some to get the new job.
    • Yes, that's right. All that and then some!
    • I think he'll do all that and then some in order to get the company back on its feet. 

    All the way (with go)

    Definition: do something completely

    • He's going all the way for the scholarship.
    • We went all the way to California on our vacation.
    • I think you can go all the way to finals in this competition.

    Dash it all!

    Definition: expression used when very upset

    • Dash it all! I didn't do very well.
    • Dash it all! She can't come this weekend.
    • I'm afraid the position didn't work out. Dash it all!

    For all I know

    Definition: based on what I know (usually expressing displeasure)

    • For all I know, he'll come and win the prize.
    • They've decided to hire Jack for all I know.
    • For all he knows, she wants to get married

    Free for all

    Definition: crazy, non-restricted activity (generally a fight)

    • It was a free for all! Everyone went crazy!
    • They stepped in to break up the free for all.
    • Black Friday is generally a free for all that I try to avoid. 

    Have it all together

    Definition: be very poised, successful

    • He has it all together. The house, the wife, the kids, the great job - everything!
    • I was very impressed with the candidate. She seemed to have it all together.
    • I hope the new recruit has it all together. We need a team player. 

    Hold all the aces

    Definition: have all the advantages

    • Unfortunately, Tom holds all the aces right now. You'll have to do what he says.
    • I'm holding all the aces so I can do whatever I want.
    • I'm afraid this is a situation in which you don't hold all the aces.

    Know all the angles

    Definition: be very clever about something

    • Jack knows all the angles. Be careful!
    • The salesman knew all the angles, and by the end of our talk I had bought a new computer!
    • If you need some help with math talk to Peter. He knows all the angles. 

    Know it all

    Definition: someone who seems to know everything and lets everybody know that he / she knows everything, used in a negative sense

    • I know you think you are a know it all, but you don't know everything. 
    • I hate Tom. He's such a know it all in class.
    • Don't think you know it all. 

    Not all there

    Definition: not intelligent, not completely focused on an activity

    • I'm afraid Peter is not all there. He needs some help badly.
    • Unfortunately, I was not all there and lost the final match.
    • Be quiet. The boss is not all there today. Give him plenty of room.

    Of all the nerve!

    Definition: expression of anger at someone's behavior

    • Of all the nerve! Did you see how that woman treated me?
    • Of all the nerve! She took my seat!
    • You didn't buy him a present?! Of all the nerve! That guy has always treated you well. 

    Once and for all

    Definition: finally (usually putting an end to something)

    • I'm going to stop his behavior once and for all!
    • Let's get this over once and for all.
    • I'd like to review the grammar one more time. Hopefully, this will make it clear once and for all. 

    Pull out all the stops

    Definition: make every possible effort to do something

    • He pulled out all the stops on the exam.
    • We're going to pull out all the stops on our presentation.
    • I'd like to throw a huge party that pulls out all the stops. 

    You can't win them all.

    Definition: expression of acceptance after a loss or disappointment

    • Well, you can't win them all. Let's go home.
    • You did your best. You can't win them all
    • I tried to get the job, but I didn't. You can't win them all. 
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    Your Citation
    Beare, Kenneth. "Idioms and Expressions - All." ThoughtCo, Apr. 4, 2017, Beare, Kenneth. (2017, April 4). Idioms and Expressions - All. Retrieved from Beare, Kenneth. "Idioms and Expressions - All." ThoughtCo. (accessed May 28, 2018).