Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Being or representing the entire or total number, amount, or quantity: synonym: whole.
  • adjective Constituting, being, or representing the total extent or the whole.
  • adjective Being the utmost possible of.
  • adjective Every.
  • adjective Any whatsoever.
  • adjective Pennsylvania Consumed; used up; gone.
  • adjective Informal Being more than one.
  • noun The whole of one's fortune, resources, or energy; everything one has.
  • pronoun The entire or total number, amount, or quantity; totality.
  • pronoun Everyone; everything.
  • adverb Wholly; completely.
  • adverb So much.
  • adverb Used as an intensive.
  • adverb Each; apiece.
  • idiom (all along) From the beginning; throughout.
  • idiom (all but) Nearly; almost.
  • idiom (all in) Tired; exhausted.
  • idiom (all in) Used in poker as a declaration that one is staking all of one's chips.
  • idiom (all in all) Everything being taken into account.
  • idiom (all of) Not more than.
  • idiom (all one) Of no difference; immaterial.
  • idiom (all over) Completely ended or finished.
  • idiom (all over) In every part; everywhere.
  • idiom (all over) Typical of the person or thing just mentioned.
  • idiom (all over) Showing much romantic interest or being in close contact.
  • idiom (all over) Persistently or harshly critical or scolding.
  • idiom (all out) With all one's strength, ability, or resources.
  • idiom (all that) To the degree expected.
  • idiom (all there) Mentally unimpaired or competent.
  • idiom (all told) With everything considered; in all.
  • idiom (and all) And other things of the same type.
  • idiom (at all) In any way.
  • idiom (at all) To any extent; whatever.
  • idiom (be all) To say or utter. Used chiefly in verbal narration.
  • idiom (in all) Considering everything; all together.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • The whole quantity of, with reference to substance, extent, duration, amount, or degree: with a noun in the singular, chiefly such nouns (proper names, names of substances, abstract nouns—any whole or any part regarded in itself as a whole) as from their meaning or particular use do not in such use admit of a plural: as, all Europe; all Homer; all flesh; all control; all history.
  • The whole number of, with reference to individuals or particulars, taken collectively: with a noun in the plural: as, all men; all nations; all metals; all hopes; all sciences; all days.
  • Every: chiefly with kind, sort, manner, and formerly with thing.
  • Any; any whatever: after a preposition or verb implying negation or exclusion: as, beyond all controversy; out of all question; he was free from all thought of danger.
  • Only; alone.
  • When joined to nouns accompanied by a definitive (the definite article, a possessive or demonstrative pronoun, etc.), all precedes the latter whether with a singular or plural noun, or else follows the noun if it is plural; as, all my labor; all his goods; all this time; all these things; all the men agreed to this, or, the men all agreed to this. In the phrases all day, all night, all summer, all winter, all the year, all the time, etc., the noun is an adverbial accusative. In the first four the article is usually omitted.
  • When joined to a personal or relative pronoun in the plural, all may precede, but now usually follows, the pronoun.
  • The alternative construction is all of us, all of them, etc. (see II., 2); or the two constructions may stand together.
  • The adjective all, with a singular or plural noun, is often separated from its subject, especially by the verb be (expressed, or in the present participle often omitted), and, being thus apparently a part of the predicate, assumes a transitional position, and may equally well be regarded as an adverb, meaning altogether, wholly: as, the house was all dark; he was all ears; the poor horse was all skin and bones; the papers were all in confusion; it was all a mistake; it is all gone.
  • The whole quantity or amount; the whole; the aggregate; the total: in a singular sense.
  • The whole number; every individual or particular, taken collectively; especially, all men or all people: in a plural sense.
  • All, in either of the preceding uses, is often followed by a limiting phrase with of.
  • Everything: as, is that all? that is all.
  • Altogether; wholly.

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English al, from Old English eall; see al- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English, from Old English eall ("all, every, entire, whole, universal"), from Proto-Germanic *allaz, *alnaz (“all, whole, every”), from Proto-Indo-European *al- (“all”). Cognate with West Frisian al ("all"), Dutch al ("all"), German all ("all"), Swedish all ("all"), Icelandic allur ("all"), Welsh oll ("all"), Irish uile ("all"), Lithuanian aliái ("all, each, every"), Albanian lloj ("type, sort, variegated").

Examples

  • We all know that when we say "Men are animals," a form wholly unquantified in phrase, we speak of _all_ men, but not of all animals: it is _some or all_, some may be all for aught the proposition says.

    A Budget of Paradoxes, Volume I (of II)

  • Also, the universities should be allowed to offer as many scholarships as they want — but the caveat is that the entering players *all* are in the upper 50% of the class with SAT and GPA, and not simply the average of all the sports, etc.

    The Volokh Conspiracy » Against the NCAA Cartel

  • Cue to last fall, when all the apartment owners in the low rise buildings on the North Road side found out that the big concrete beams of the guideway would cut 50% of their view on the 2nd floor and all of it on the 3rd floor…not to mention that the resale value will go down a lot..all of a sudden a tram looked good..

    Bond shies away from major TransLink reforms « Stephen Rees's blog

  • Freddy: No, it's the ironing..all the men I have every enjoyed being with all enjoy ironing.

    2009: Why it was a brilliant year

  • Not to mention all the humor potential *another* gay Arabic translator - are they *all* gay?

    What, Exactly, Is The Gay Agenda? And What Part Should Repeal Of The Defense of Marriage Act Play In It?

  • Yes, we all have to put in work, but we * all* put in work, and as much as possible in equal measures.

    Screw Community

  • The answer to all this is Clinton will need to get approximately 235 of the remaining 268 superdelegates, or 90% of * all* the remaining superdelegates for her to get nominated on the first ballot.

    In Private Pep-Talk To Top Donors, Hillary Predicts: "We're Gonna Win This"

  • I will reiterate Muslims love killing Muslims more than anyone, and philosophies of radicalism, puritanism, created the monsters of Terrorism in Islam..thereby destroying all that we stand for..all that we hold upright as Brotherhood and Peace..

    Archive 2009-07-01

  • Problem is, short of erecting a magic barrier that vaporizes all guns upon entering the city limits, how do you propose to enforce such a ban, in such a way that denies *all* people access to guns, not just the law-abiding?

    A New Concept for Gun Control

  • October 19, 2009 at 4:48 am good god, man, you of all people deserve a spell…..all work and no play maketh jeff a dull boy…..

    Reaching a Point of Rest

Comments

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  • See oil.

    November 1, 2007

  • ALL - (noun) - A petroleum-based lubricant.

    Usage: "I sure hope my brother from Jawjuh puts all in my pickup truck."

    April 8, 2008

  • "USAGE NOTE: The construction all that is used informally in questions and negative sentences to mean 'to the degree expected,' as in I know it won an Oscar, but the film is not all that exciting. In an earlier survey, the Usage Panel rejected the use of this construction in formal writing. · Sentences of the form All X's are not Y may be ambiguous. All of the departments did not file a report may mean that some departments did not file, or that none did. If the first meaning is intended, it can be unambiguously expressed by the sentence Not all of the departments filed a report. If the second meaning is intended, a paraphrase such as None of the departments filed a report or All of the departments failed to file a report can be used. Note that the same problem can arise with other universal terms like every in negated sentences, as in the ambiguous Every department did not file a report. See Usage Note at every."

    --The American Heritage Dictionary

    September 17, 2010