[uh-kraws-thuh-bawrd, -bohrd, uh-kros-]


applying to all employees, members, groups, or categories; general: The across-the-board pay increase means a raise for all employees.
(of a bet) covering all possibilities of winning on a given result, especially by placing a combination bet on one horse in a race for win, place, and show.

Nearby words

  1. acrosome,
  2. acrospire,
  3. acrospore,
  4. across,
  5. across the board,
  6. acrostic,
  7. acroter,
  8. acroterion,
  9. acroterium,
  10. acrotic

Origin of across-the-board

First recorded in 1940–45


[bawrd, bohrd]


a piece of wood sawed thin, and of considerable length and breadth compared with the thickness.
a flat slab of wood or other material for some specific purpose: a cutting board.
a sheet of wood, cardboard, paper, etc., with or without markings, for some special use, as a checkerboard or chessboard.
  1. Theater.the stage: The play will go on the boards next week.
  2. the wooden fence surrounding the playing area of an ice-hockey rink.
  3. a racing course made of wood, used especially in track meets held indoors: his first time running on boards.
Bookbinding. stiff cardboard or other material covered with paper, cloth, or the like to form the covers for a book.
Building Trades. composition material made in large sheets, as plasterboard or corkboard.
a table, especially to serve food on.
daily meals, especially as provided for pay: twenty dollars a day for room and board.
an official group of persons who direct or supervise some activity: a board of directors.
  1. the side of a ship.
  2. one leg, or tack, of the course of a ship beating to windward.
Railroads. a fixed signal or permanent sign regulating traffic.
a flat surface, as a wall or an object of rectangular shape, on which something is posted, as notices or stock-market quotations: a bulletin board.
  1. Also called card, circuit board.a piece of fiberglass or other material upon which chips can be mounted to perform specific functions.
  2. plugboard(def 2).
Electronics. circuit board(def 2).
a switchboard.
  1. the area of a woolshed where shearing is done.
  2. a crew of shearers working in a particular woolshed.
  3. sheep about to be sheared.
Obsolete. the edge, border, or side of anything.

verb (used with object)

to cover or close with boards (often followed by up or over): to board up a house; to board over a well.
to furnish with meals, or with meals and lodging, especially for pay: They boarded him for $50 a week.
to go on board of or enter (a ship, train, etc.).
to allow on board: We will be boarding passengers in approximately ten minutes.
to come up alongside (a ship), as to attack or to go on board: The pirate ship boarded the clipper.
Obsolete. to approach; accost.

verb (used without object)

to take one's meals, or be supplied with food and lodging at a fixed price: Several of us board at the same rooming house.
Ice Hockey. to hit an opposing player with a board check.

Origin of board

before 900; Middle English, Old English bord board, table, shield; cognate with Dutch boord board, bord plate, German Bort, Old Norse borth, Gothic -baurd

Related formsboard·a·ble, adjectiveboard·like, adjectivere·board, verb (used with object)un·board·ed, adjective

Can be confusedboard boredboard committee council panel trust Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for across the board



(of salary increases, taxation cuts, etc) affecting all levels or classes equally
horse racing the US term for each way



a long wide flat relatively thin piece of sawn timber
  1. a smaller flat piece of rigid material for a specific purposeironing board
  2. (in combination)breadboard; cheeseboard
a person's food or meals, provided regularly for money or sometimes as payment for work done (esp in the phrases full board, board and lodging)
archaic a table, esp one used for eating at, and esp when laden with food
  1. (sometimes functioning as plural)a group of people who officially administer a company, trust, etca board of directors
  2. (as modifier)a board meeting
any other committee or councila board of interviewers
the boards (plural) the acting profession; the stage
stiff cardboard or similar material covered with paper, cloth, etc, used for the outside covers of a book
a flat thin rectangular sheet of composite material, such as plasterboard or chipboard
mainly US
  1. a list on which stock-exchange securities and their prices are posted
  2. informalthe stock exchange itself
  1. the side of a ship
  2. the leg that a sailing vessel makes on a beat to windward
Australian and NZ the part of the floor of a sheep-shearing shed, esp a raised part, where the shearers work
NZ the killing floor of an abattoir or freezing works
  1. any of various portable surfaces specially designed for indoor games such as chess, backgammon, etc
  2. (as modifier)board games
  1. a set of hands in duplicate bridge
  2. a wooden or metal board containing four slots, or often nowadays, a plastic wallet, in which the four hands are placed so that the deal may be replayed with identical hands
the hull of a sailboard, usually made of plastic, to which the mast is jointed and on which a windsurfer stands
go by the board to be in disuse, neglected, or lostin these days courtesy goes by the board
on board on or in a ship, boat, aeroplane, or other vehicle
sweep the board
  1. (in gambling) to win all the cards or money
  2. to win every event or prize in a contest
take on board to accept (new ideas, situations, theories, etc)


to go aboard (a vessel, train, aircraft, or other vehicle)
nautical to come alongside (a vessel) before attacking or going aboard
to attack (a ship) by forcing one's way aboard
(tr; often foll by up, in, etc) to cover or shut with boards
(intr) to give or receive meals or meals and lodging in return for money or work
(sometimes foll by out) to receive or arrange for (someone, esp a child) to receive food and lodging away from home, usually in return for payment
Derived Formsboardable, adjective

Word Origin for board

Old English bord; related to Old Norse borth ship's side, table, Old High German bort ship's side, Sanskrit bardhaka a cutting off

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

Word Origin and History for across the board
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with across the board

across the board

Applying to all the individuals in a group, as in They promised us an across-the-board tax cut, that is, one applying to all taxpayers, regardless of income. This expression comes from horse racing, where it refers to a bet that covers all possible ways of winning money on a race: win (first), place (second), or show (third). The board here is the notice-board on which the races and betting odds are listed. Its figurative use dates from the mid-1900s.


see across the board; back to the drawing board; bed and board; bulletin board; by the board; go overboard; on board; open and aboveboard; room and board; stiff as a board; tread the boards.

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