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[awl] /ɔl/
the whole of (used in referring to quantity, extent, or duration):
all the cake; all the way; all year.
the whole number of (used in referring to individuals or particulars, taken collectively):
all students.
the greatest possible (used in referring to quality or degree):
with all due respect; with all speed.
all kinds; all sorts.
any; any whatever:
beyond all doubt.
nothing but; only:
The coat is all wool.
dominated by or as if by the conspicuous possession or use of a particular feature:
The colt was all legs. They were all ears, listening attentively to everything she said.
Chiefly Pennsylvania German. all gone; consumed; finished:
The pie is all.
the whole quantity or amount:
He ate all of the peanuts. All are gone.
the whole number; every one:
all of us.
Is that all you want to say? All is lost.
one's whole interest, energy, or property:
to give one's all; to lose one's all.
(often initial capital letter) the entire universe.
wholly; entirely; completely:
all alone.
only; exclusively:
He spent his income all on pleasure.
each; apiece:
The score was one all.
Archaic. even; just.
above all, before everything else; chiefly:
Above all, the little girl wanted a piano.
after all, in spite of the circumstances; notwithstanding:
He came in time after all.
all at once. once (def 9).
all but, almost; very nearly:
These batteries are all but dead.
all in, Northern and Western U.S. very tired; exhausted:
We were all in at the end of the day.
all in all,
  1. everything considered; in general:
    All in all, her health is greatly improved.
  2. altogether:
    There were twelve absentees all in all.
  3. everything; everything regarded as important:
    Painting became his all in all.
all in hand, Printing, Journalism. (of the copy for typesetting a particular article, book, issue, etc.) in the possession of the compositor.
all in the wind, Nautical. too close to the wind.
all out, with all available means or effort:
We went all out to win the war.
all over,
  1. finished; done; ended.
  2. everywhere; in every part.
  3. in every respect; typically.
all standing, Nautical.
  1. in such a way and so suddenly that sails or engines are still set to propel a vessel forward:
    The ship ran aground all standing.
  2. fully clothed:
    The crew turned in all standing.
  3. fully equipped, as a vessel.
all that, remarkably; entirely; decidedly (used in negative constructions):
It's not all that different from your other house.
all the better, more advantageous; so much the better:
If the sun shines it will be all the better for our trip.
all there, Informal. mentally competent; not insane or feeble-minded:
Some of his farfetched ideas made us suspect that he wasn't all there.
all the same. same (def 9).
all told. told (def 2).
all up,
  1. Printing, Journalism. (of copy) completely set in type.
  2. Informal. with no vestige of hope remaining:
    It's all up with George—they've caught him.
and all, together with every other associated or connected attribute, object, or circumstance:
What with the snow and all, we may be a little late.
at all,
  1. in the slightest degree:
    I wasn't surprised at all.
  2. for any reason:
    Why bother at all?
  3. in any way:
    no offense at all.
for all (that), in spite of; notwithstanding:
For all that, it was a good year.
in all, all included; all together:
a hundred guests in all.
once and for all, for the last time; finally:
The case was settled once and for all when the appeal was denied.
Origin of all
before 900; Middle English al, plural alle; Old English eal(l); cognate with Gothic alls, Old Norse allr, Old Frisian, Dutch, Middle Low German al, Old Saxon, Old High German al(l) (German all); if < *ol-no-, equivalent to Welsh oll and akin to Old Irish uile < *ol-io-; cf. almighty
Can be confused
all, awl (see usage note at the current entry)
2. every one of, each of. 14. totally, utterly, fully.
Usage note
Expressions like all the farther and all the higher occur chiefly in informal speech: This is all the farther the bus goes. That's all the higher she can jump. Elsewhere as far as and as high as are generally used: This is as far as the bus goes. That's as high as she can jump.
Although some object to the inclusion of of in such phrases as all of the students and all of the contracts and prefer to omit it, the construction is entirely standard.
See also already, alright, altogether. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for alls
Historical Examples
  • There is a busy time under the surface of those "nots" and "alls."

    Quiet Talks on Power S.D. Gordon
  • "You'd make a tidy bit on the 'alls," said Beale, quite awestruck.

    Harding's luck E. [Edith] Nesbit
  • But you must have de still-house nowhere but in Ahadarra for alls dat.

    The Emigrants Of Ahadarra William Carleton
  • Presently he said: "They's mo' o' them then they is o' you alls."

    An Unoficial Patriot Helen Gardener
  • I reckon you Yanks is scooped out thinner than what we alls is.'

    An Unoficial Patriot Helen Gardener
  • The silence of the night is not broken by many challenges or the alls well!

    Pictures of Southern Life William Howard Russell
  • Afterwards he said that he had his suspicions of alls not being as it seemed.

    Betty Lee, Senior

    Harriet Pyne Grove
  • In such a case I prefer to give the command, Aim, fire—and alls said and done.

    The Duel A. I. Kuprin
  • I can't exactly say, sir, but I should fancy you was from the 'alls!

    The Life of James McNeill Whistler Elizabeth Robins Pennell
  • When alls said and done is there any place in the world so comfortable as London?

    The Bishop's Apron W. Somerset Maugham
British Dictionary definitions for alls


  1. the whole quantity or amount of; totality of; every one of a class: all the rice, all men are mortal
  2. (as pronoun; functioning as sing or plural): all of it is nice, all are welcome
  3. (in combination with a noun used as a modifier): an all-ticket match, an all-amateur tournament, an all-night sitting
the greatest possible: in all earnestness
any whatever: to lose all hope of recovery, beyond all doubt
above all, most of all; especially
after all, See after (sense 11)
all along, all the time
all but, almost; nearly: all but dead
all of, no less or smaller than: she's all of thirteen years
all over
  1. finished; at an end: the affair is all over between us
  2. over the whole area (of something); everywhere (in, on, etc): all over England
  3. typically; representatively (in the phrase that's me (you, him, us, them,etc) all over) Also (Irish) all out
  4. unduly effusive towards
  5. (sport) in a dominant position over
See all in
all in all
  1. everything considered: all in all, it was a great success
  2. the object of one's attention or interest: you are my all in all
(usually used with a negative) (informal) all that, that, (intensifier): she's not all that intelligent
(foll by a comparative adjective or adverb) all the, so much (more or less) than otherwise: we must work all the faster now
all too, definitely but regrettably: it's all too true
and all
  1. (Brit, informal) as well; too: and you can take that smile off your face and all
  2. (South African) a parenthetical filler phrase used at the end of a statement to make a sl ight pause in speaking
(informal) and all that
  1. and similar or associated things; et cetera: coffee, tea, and all that will be served in the garden
  2. used as a filler or to make what precedes more vague: in this sense, it often occurs with concessive force: she was sweet and pretty and all that, but I still didn't like her
  3. See that (sense 4)
as all that, as one might expect or hope: she's not as pretty as all that, but she has personality
at all
  1. (used with a negative or in a question) in any way whatsoever or to any extent or degree: I didn't know that at all
  2. even so; anyway: I'm surprised you came at all
(informal) be all for, to be strongly in favour of
(informal, mainly US) be all that, to be exceptionally good, talented, or attractive
for all
  1. in so far as; to the extent that: for all anyone knows, he was a baron
  2. notwithstanding: for all my pushing, I still couldn't move it
for all that, in spite of that: he was a nice man for all that
in all, altogether: there were five of them in all
(in scores of games) apiece; each: the score at half time was three all
completely: all alone
(informal) be all …, used for emphasis when introducing direct speech or nonverbal communication: he was all, 'I'm not doing that'
preceded by my, your, his, etc. (one's) complete effort or interest: to give your all, you are my all
totality or whole
prefixes pan- panto-
Word Origin
Old English eall; related to Old High German al, Old Norse allr, Gothic alls all
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for alls


Old English eall "all, every, entire," from Proto-Germanic *alnaz (cf. Old Frisian, Old High German al, Old Norse allr, Gothic alls), with no certain connection outside Germanic.

Combinations with all meaning "wholly, without limit" were common in Old English (e.g. eall-halig "all-holy," eall-mihtig "all-mighty") and the method continued to form new compound words throughout the history of English. First record of all out "to one's full powers" is 1880. All-terrain vehicle first recorded 1968. All clear as a signal of "no danger" is recorded from 1902. All right, indicative of approval, is attested from 1953.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with alls


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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