1 predet You use all to indicate that you are referring to the whole of a particular group or thing or to everyone or everything of a particular kind.
PREDET det pl-n/n-uncount
...the restaurant that Hugh and all his friends go to..., He lost all his money at a blackjack table in Las Vegas.
All is also a determiner., det DET pl-n/n-uncount
There is built-in storage space in all bedrooms..., 85 percent of all American households owe money on mortgages..., He was passionate about all literature.
All is also a quantifier., quant QUANT of def-pl-n/def-n-uncount
He was told to pack up all of his letters and personal belongings..., He was talking to all of us.
All is also a pronoun., pron
We produce our own hair-care products, all based on herbal recipes..., I'd spent all I had, every last penny.
All is also an emphasizing pronoun., pron n PRON v
Milk, oily fish and egg all contain vitamin D..., We all admire professionalism and dedication.
2 det You use all to refer to the whole of a particular period of time.
George had to cut grass all afternoon..., She's been feeling bad all week.
All is also a predeterminer., predet PREDET det sing-n
She's worked all her life..., He was looking at me all the time.
All is also a quantifier., quant QUANT of def-n
He spent all of that afternoon polishing the silver..., Two-thirds of the women interviewed think about food a lot or all of the time.
3 pron You use all to refer to a situation or to life in general.
All is silent on the island now..., As you'll have read in our news pages, all has not been well of late.
4 adv You use all to emphasize that something is completely true, or happens everywhere or always, or on every occasion.
ADV prep/adv (emphasis)
He loves animals and he knows all about them..., Parts for the aircraft will be made all round the world..., I got scared and I ran and left her all alone..., He was doing it all by himself...
5 pron You use all at the beginning of a clause when you are emphasizing that something is the only thing that is important., (emphasis)
He said all that remained was to agree to a time and venue..., All you ever want to do is go shopping!..., All I could say was, `I'm sorry'.
6 det You use all in expressions such as in all sincerity and in all probability to emphasize that you are being sincere or that something is very likely.
in DET n-uncount (emphasis)
In all fairness he had to admit that she was neither dishonest nor lazy...
7 adv You use all when you are talking about an equal score in a game. For example, if the score is three all, both players or teams have three points.
8 adv All is used in structures such as all the more or all the better to mean even more or even better than before.
ADV the adv/adj-compar
The living room is decorated in pale colours that make it all the more airy...
9 pron You use all in expressions such as seen it all and done it all to emphasize that someone has had a lot of experience of something., (emphasis)
...women who have it all: career, husband and children..., Here's a man who has seen it all, tasted and heard it all.
10 You say above all to indicate that the thing you are mentioning is the most important point.
above all phrase PHR with cl/group (emphasis)
Above all, chairs should be comfortable...
11 You use after all when introducing a statement which supports or helps explain something you have just said.
after all phrase PHR with cl
I thought you might know somebody. After all, you're the man with connections.
12 You use after all when you are saying that something that you thought might not be the case is in fact the case.
after all phrase
I came out here on the chance of finding you at home after all...
13 You use and all when you want to emphasize that what you are talking about includes the thing mentioned, especially when this is surprising or unusual.
and all phrase n PHR (emphasis)
He dropped his sausage on the pavement and someone's dog ate it, mustard and all.
14 You use all in all to introduce a summary or general statement.
all in all phrase PHR with cl
We both thought that all in all it might not be a bad idea...
15 You use at all at the end of a clause to give emphasis in negative statements, conditional clauses, and questions.
at all phrase
Robin never really liked him at all...
16 All but a particular person or thing means everyone or everything except that person or thing.
all but phrase PHR n
The general was an unattractive man to all but his most ardent admirers...
17 You use all but to say that something is almost the case.
all but phrase PHR -ed
The concrete wall that used to divide this city has now all but gone...
18 You use for all to indicate that the thing mentioned does not affect or contradict the truth of what you are saying.
for all phrase PHR n
For all its faults, the film instantly became a classic.
19 You use for all in phrases such as for all I know, and for all he cares, to emphasize that you do not know something or that someone does not care about something.
for all phrase PHR with cl (emphasis)
For all we know, he may even not be in this country..., You can go right now for all I care.
20 If you give your all or put your all into something, you make the maximum effort possible.
give one's all/put one's all phrase V inflects
He puts his all into every game.
21 In all means in total.
in all phrase PHR with cl, amount PHR
There was evidence that thirteen people in all had taken part in planning the murder.
22 If something such as an activity is a particular price all in, that price includes everything that is offered.
all in phrase amount PHR, PHR with cl
Dinner is about £25 all in.
23 You use of all to emphasize the words `first' or `last', or a superlative adjective or adverb.
of all phrase PHR with superl (emphasis)
First of all, answer these questions..., Now she faces her toughest task of all.
24 You use of all in expressions such as of all people or of all things when you want to emphasize someone or something surprising.
of all phrase PHR n (emphasis)
They met and fell in love in a supermarket, of all places.
25 You use all in expressions like of all the cheek or of all the luck to emphasize how angry or surprised you are at what someone else has done or said.
of all the X phrase
Of all the lazy, indifferent, unbusinesslike attitudes to have!
26 You use all of before a number to emphasize how small or large an amount is.
all of phrase PHR amount (emphasis)
It took him all of 41 minutes to score his first goal...
27 You use all that in statements with negative meaning when you want to weaken the force of what you are saying.
all that phrase PHR with brd-neg, PHR adj/adv (vagueness)
He wasn't all that older than we were...
28 You can say that's all at the end of a sentence when you are explaining something and want to emphasize that nothing more happens or is the case.
that's all phrase cl PHR
`Why do you want to know that?' he demanded.<emdash>`Just curious, that's all.'
29 You use all very well to suggest that you do not really approve of something or you think that it is unreasonable.
all very well phrase v-link PHR (disapproval)
It is all very well to urge people to give more to charity when they have less, but is it really fair?
1 comb in adj All- is added to nouns or adjectives in order to form adjectives which describe something as consisting only of the thing mentioned or as having only the quality indicated.
usu ADJ n
...an all-star cast..., ...all-cotton sheeting.
2 comb in adj All- is added to present participles or adjectives in order to form adjectives which describe something as including or affecting everything or everyone.
usu ADJ n
Nursing a demented person is an all-consuming task...
3 comb in adj All- is added to nouns in order to form adjectives which describe something as being suitable for or including all types of a particular thing.
usu ADJ n
He wanted to form an all-party government of national unity...
If you describe someone as an all-American boy or girl, you mean that they seem to have all the typical qualities that are valued by ordinary Americans, such as good looks and love of their country. adj ADJ n
1 n-sing The all clear is a signal that a dangerous situation, for example an air raid, has ended.
The all clear was sounded about 10 minutes after the alert was given.
All clear is also a convention., convention
`All clear,' Misha growled.
2 n-sing If someone in authority gives you the all clear, they give you permission to continue with a plan or activity, usually after a problem has been sorted out.
I was given the all clear by the doctor to resume playing.
all-comers , all comers
You use all-comers to refer to everyone who wants to take part in an activity, especially a competition. n-plural
This is her second season offering residential courses for all-comers.
Something that is all-embracing includes or affects everyone or everything. adj
His hospitality was instantaneous and all-embracing.
All-inclusive is used to indicate that a price, especially the price of a holiday, includes all the charges and all the services offered. adj usu ADJ n
An all-inclusive two-week holiday costs around £2880 per person.
all-out , all out
You use all-out to describe actions that are carried out in a very energetic and determined way, using all the resources available. adj ADJ n
He launched an all-out attack on his critics.
All out is also an adverb., adv ADV after v
We will be going all out to ensure it doesn't happen again.
An all-powerful person or organization has the power to do anything they want. adj
...the all-powerful labour unions.
You use all-purpose to refer to things that have lots of different uses or can be used in lots of different situations. adj ADJ n
Use all-purpose flour if you cannot find pastry flour.
in BRIT, also use alright
1 adj If you say that someone or something is all right, you mean that you find them satisfactory or acceptable.
Is it all right with you if we go now?..., `How was school?'<emdash>`It was all right.'
All right is also used before a noun.
INFORMAL adj ADJ n
He's an all right kind of guy really.
2 adv If you say that something happens or goes all right, you mean that it happens in a satisfactory or acceptable manner.
ADV after v
Things have thankfully worked out all right...
3 adj If someone or something is all right, they are well or safe.
All she's worried about is whether he is all right..., Are you feeling all right now?
4 convention You say `all right' when you are agreeing to something., (formulae)
`I think you should go now.'<emdash>`All right.'...
5 convention You say `all right?' after you have given an instruction or explanation to someone when you are checking that they have understood what you have just said, or checking that they agree with or accept what you have just said.
Peter, you get half the fees. All right?...
6 convention If someone in a position of authority says `all right', and suggests talking about or doing something else, they are indicating that they want you to end one activity and start another.
All right, Bob. You can go now...
7 convention You say `all right' during a discussion to show that you understand something that someone has just said, and to introduce a statement that relates to it.
`I'm a bit busy now.'<emdash>`All right, why don't I come back later?'
8 convention You say all right before a statement or question to indicate that you are challenging or threatening someone.
All right, who are you and what are you doing in my office?...
in AM, also use all-around
1 adj An all-round person is good at a lot of different skills, academic subjects, or sports.
He is a great all-round player.
2 adj All-round means doing or relating to all aspects of a job or activity.
He demonstrated the all-round skills of a quarterback.
all-rounder ( all-rounders plural ) Someone who is an all-rounder is good at a lot of different skills, academic subjects, or sports.
I class myself as an all-rounder.
An all-seater stadium has enough seats for all the audience, rather than having some areas without seats where people stand.
(BRIT) adj usu ADJ n
If you describe something new as all-singing, all-dancing, you mean that it is very modern and advanced, with a lot of additional features; used especially to show that you think a lot of these features are silly or unnecessary.
HUMOROUS phrase PHR n
...the executive's new all-singing, all-dancing website.
An all-star cast, performance, or game is one which contains only famous or extremely good performers or players. adj ADJ n
You use all-time when you are comparing all the things of a particular type that there have ever been. For example, if you say that something is the all-time best, you mean that it is the best thing of its type that there has ever been. adj ADJ n
The president's popularity nationally is at an all-time low..., Duane Eddy is John Peel's all-time favourite artist.
be-all and end-all
If something is the be-all and end-all to you, it is the only important thing in your life, or the only important feature of a particular activity.
the be-all and end-all of sth phrase v-link PHR, usu PHR of n
For some people, competing is the be-all and end-all of their running.
bugger all , bugger-all
Bugger all is a rude way of saying `nothing'.
INFORMAL, RUDE pron
catch-all ( catch-alls plural )
in AM, also use catchall A catch-all is a term or category which includes many different things. n-count
Globalisation is a catch-all to describe increased international trade..., Indigestion is a catch-all term for any kind of stomach distress.
cure-all ( cure-alls plural ) A cure-all is something that is believed, usually wrongly, to be able to solve all the problems someone or something has, or to cure a wide range of illnesses. n-count oft N for n
He said the introduction of market discipline to the economy was not a magic cure-all for its problems...
free-for-all ( free-for-alls plural )
1 n-sing A free-for-all is a situation in which several people or groups are trying to get something for themselves and there are no controls on how they do it.
2 n-count A free-for-all is a disorganized fight or argument which lots of people join in.
jack-of-all-trades ( jacks-of-all-trades plural ) , jack of all trades If you refer to someone as a jack-of-all-trades, you mean that they are able to do a variety of different jobs. You are also often suggesting that they are not very good at any of these jobs. n-count
know-all ( know-alls plural ) If you say that someone is a know-all, you are critical of them because they think that they know a lot more than other people.
in AM, use know-it-all
know-it-all ( know-it-alls plural ) If you say that someone is a know-it-all, you are critical of them because they think that they know a lot more than other people.
in BRIT, use know-all