[ awl-out ]
See synonyms for all-out on
  1. using all one's resources; complete; total: an all-out effort.

Origin of all-out

1905–10; adj. use of all out utterly, completely, Middle English al out

Other words for all-out

Words Nearby all-out Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use all-out in a sentence

  • He knew that today, and for years before, nobody had dared start an all-out atomic war.

    The Edge of the Knife | Henry Beam Piper
  • Something as if all-out-doors were cramped and small, and it were better to return to the freedom and amplitude of the interior?

    Suburban Sketches | William Dean Howells
  • Once a war started, no nation could resist the temptation to go all-out.

    This Crowded Earth | Robert Bloch
  • Im going to stick around until the all-out alarm is sounded.

    Joan of the Journal | Helen Diehl Olds
  • Mitch, who wanted to quit an all-out war, reached for the fusing switch.

    Way of a Rebel | Walter M. Miller

British Dictionary definitions for all-out


/ informal /

  1. using one's maximum powers: an all-out effort

adverball out
  1. to one's maximum effort or capacity: he 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


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.