- Being or representing the entire or total number, amount, or quantity: All the windows are open. Deal all the cards. See Synonyms at whole.
- Constituting, being, or representing the total extent or the whole: all Christendom.
- Being the utmost possible of: argued the case in all seriousness.
- Every: got into all manner of trouble.
- Any whatsoever: beyond all doubt.
- Pennsylvania Consumed; used up; gone: The apples are all.
- Informal Being more than one: Who all came to the party? y'all
The whole of one's fortune, resources, or energy; everything one has: The brave defenders gave their all.
- The entire or total number, amount, or quantity; totality: All of us are sick. All that I have is yours.
- Everyone; everything: justice for all.
a. Wholly; completely: a room painted all white.
b. So much: I am all the better for that experience.
c. Used as an intensive: Then he got all mad and left.
- Each; apiece: a score of five all.
Origin of all
Middle English al from
Old English eall
; see al-3
in Indo-European roots.
Usage Note: The construction all that is used informally in questions and negative sentences to mean “to the degree expected.” In the late 1960s, the Usage Panel rejected its use, but evidently resistance to all that is crumbling. In our 1997 survey, 72 percent of the Panel found the construction acceptable in the sentence The movie is not all that interesting. • 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. The first meaning can be expressed unambiguously by the sentence Not all of the departments filed a report. The second meaning can be more clearly phrased as None of the departments filed a report or All of the departments failed to file a report. The same problem can arise with other universal terms such as every in negated sentences, as in the ambiguous Every department did not file a report. See Usage Note at every. Word History:
In the late 17th and early 18th centuries, groups of immigrants from southwestern Germany, Alsace, and Switzerland settled in Pennsylvania. The groups spoke closely related dialects of German that eventually merged into a new, distinctly American variety of German that came to be known as Pennsylvania Dutch.
(The word Dutch
in this expression comes from Deitsch,
the Pennsylvania German equivalent of Deutsch,
the standard German word for “German.” The spelling of the word as Dutch
has undoubtedly been influenced by the English word Dutch.
comes from the Middle Dutch word Dūtsch,
meaning “Dutch” or “German,” that is the Dutch equivalent of the German word Deutsch.
) Pennsylvania Dutch, which is still spoken in some communities in Pennsylvania today—notably by the Amish—has contributed a number of words to American English, including dunk, hex, smearcase, snollygoster, spritz,
and perhaps snickerdoodle.
The dialect has also left other traces in the grammar and usage of English in Pennsylvania. For instance, in German, the word alle,
literally meaning “all,” can be used idiomatically to mean “all gone, used up, at an end.” The standard German sentence Der Kaffee ist alle
(word for word, “The coffee is all”) means “The coffee is all gone” or “The coffee has been used up,” for example. Some Pennsylvanians, too, may say The coffee is all
to mean “The coffee is all gone”—the use of the English word all
to mean “all gone” reflects the influence of Pennsylvania Dutch and reminds us of the days when many Pennsylvanians were bilingual in English and Pennsylvania Dutch and would switch back and forth between them in their daily lives.