Meaning of “all” in the English Dictionary

"all" in English

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alldeterminer, predeterminer, pronoun

uk /ɔːl/ us /ɑːl/

A1 every one (of), or the complete amount or number (of), or the whole (of):

All animals have to eat in order to live.
She has four children, all under the age of five.
The cast all lined up on stage to take their bow.
Have you drunk all (of) the milk?
Have you drunk it all?
All the eggs got broken.
Now the money's all mine!
All my friends agree.
I've been trying all day/week to contact you.
She had £2,000 under the bed and the thieves took it all.
I had to use all my powers of persuasion to get her to agree.
Remember all that trouble we had with the police last year?
So long as he's happy - that's all that matters (= the most important thing).
All (= the only thing) I need is a roof over my head and a decent meal.
The judge cleared the court of all but (= everyone except) herself and the witness.
Why do you get so angry with me all the time (= very often)?
It's very kind of you to come all the way to meet me.
all in all

considering all the different parts of the situation together:

All in all, I think you've done very well.
all I'm saying informal

used when you make a comment or criticism, so that it seems less severe or is less likely to offend someone:

All I'm saying is I think the end part could have been a little shorter.
We should do our best, that's all I'm saying.
all the... you have

the only and small amount or number of something you have:

Her parents died when she was a baby, so I was all the family she ever had.

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uk /ɔːl/ us /ɑːl/

A2 completely:

The cake was all eaten last night.
The downstairs rooms were painted all in greens and blues.
The baby got food all over her dress.
Don't let her get you all upset.
She's been all over town looking for you.
I've been hearing all about your weekend!
We had a difficult time but it's all over now.
The princess lived all alone/by herself in the middle of the forest.

B1 used after a number to mean that both teams or players in a game have equal points:

The score at half-time was still four all.
all but

C2 almost:

The game was all but over by the time we arrived.
I'd all but given up on you.
all round UK US all around

in every way:

It was a ghastly business all round.
It's been a good day all around.
all the better, stronger, more exciting, etc.

C2 even or much better, stronger, more exciting, etc.:

She felt all the better for the drink.
I've lost ten pounds and I feel all the fitter for it.

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uk /ɔːl-/ us /ɑːl-/

used in front of many nouns to form adjectives meaning "every", "every type of", or "the whole of" that particular thing:

an all-night bar (= a bar that is open for the whole night)

used in front of many adjectives and present participles to mean "everything" or "everyone":

all-conquering armies

used in front of many nouns and adjectives to mean "completely":

all-cotton socks (= socks that are made completely of cotton)
When cooking the sauce, don't forget that all-important (= most or very important) ingredient, fresh basil.
Do you believe in an all-powerful god (= one with unlimited power)?

(Definition of “all” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"all" in American English

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us /ɔl/

all adjective (EVERY ONE)

every one of, or the complete number of:

All four of her children are under six.
Not all my friends approved of what I did.
All but the weakest plants survived the hot weather.

all adjective (COMPLETELY)

[ not gradable ] the whole:

I’ve been trying all day to contact you.

all adverb [ not gradable ] (COMPLETELY)


This coat is all wool.
Is the milk all gone?
Did you drink it all?
Don’t get all upset.

All is also used after a number to mean that both teams or players in a game have equal points:

The score at halftime was 10 all.
all over

everywhere in a place or area:

Soon the news was all over town.
There were these tiny little blue flowers growing all over.



us /ɔl/

all pronoun (EVERY ONE)

every one:

All of her children have graduated from high school.

all pronoun (ONE THING)

the one thing:

Speed is all that matters.
All I need is a hot shower.

(Definition of “all” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"all" in Business English

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uk /ɔːl/ us
be all go UK

if a situation or place is all go, it is extremely busy:

It was all go in the office today.
go all out

to put all your energy or enthusiasm into what you are doing:

Investors going all out for growth with some risk might be interested in this new unit trust.

(Definition of “all” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)