[ awl-out ]
/ ˈɔlˌaʊt /
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using all one's resources; complete; total: an all-out effort.
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Origin of all-out

1905–10; adj. use of all out utterly, completely, Middle English al out
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What does all-out mean?

All-out describes using all of your resources or energy to accomplish something, as in Talya made an all-out effort on her midterm exams.

The related phrase all out usually follows go and means to make a total effort, as in Jamal’s parents really went all out for his birthday party, treating all the guests to helicopter rides! 

Example: The away team won the game because they went for an all-out attack on the home team.

Where does all-out come from?

The first records of the term all-out come from around 1905, while the phrase all out dates back to at least 1300. It comes from the Middle English phrase al out.

An all-out effort can be either a physical or mental effort. When you put on a burst of speed at the end of a marathon, you’re physically going all-out. When you study for several weeks for a big exam, you’re mentally going all-out.

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What are some synonyms for all-out?

What are some words that share a root or word element with all-out

What are some words that often get used in discussing all-out?

How is all-out used in real life?

All-out is a common term often used in casual conversations.

Try using all-out!

Which of the following is NOT a synonym for all-out?

A. full-blown
B. full-scale
C. maximum
D. half-hearted

How to use all-out in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for all-out

/ informal /

using one's maximum powersan all-out effort
adverb all out
to one's maximum effort or capacityhe went all out on the home stretch
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

Other Idioms and Phrases with all-out

all out

With all one's strength, ability, or resources; not holding back. For example, They are going all out to make the fund-raiser a success. This seemingly modern term dates from about 1300, when it meant “completely” or “wholly.” It now refers to making a great effort and is also used adjectivally, as in an all-out effort. This usage became current in America in the late 1800s, with reference to races and other kinds of athletic exertion. In the mid-1900s it gave rise to the phrase to go all out and was transferred to just about any energetic undertaking. Also see go whole hog.

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