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 confusedall awl (see usage note at the current entry)

Synonyms for all

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.




above in place or position: the roof over one's head.
above and to the other side of: to leap over a wall.
above in authority, rank, power, etc., so as to govern, control, or have jurisdiction regarding: There is no one over her in the department now.
so as to rest on or cover; on or upon: Throw a sheet over the bed.
on or upon, so as to cause an apparent change in one's mood, attitude, etc.: I can't imagine what has come over her.
on or on top of: to hit someone over the head.
here and there on or in; about: at various places over the country.
through all parts of; all through: to roam over the estate; to show someone over the house.
to and fro on or in; across; throughout: to travel all over Europe.
from one side to the other of; to the other side of; across: to go over a bridge.
on the other side of; across: lands over the sea.
reaching higher than, so as to submerge: The water is over his shoulders.
in excess of; more than: over a mile; not over five dollars.
above in degree, quantity, etc.: a big improvement over last year's turnout.
in preference to: chosen over another applicant.
throughout the length of: The message was sent over a great distance.
until after the end of: to adjourn over the holidays.
throughout the duration of: over a long period of years.
in reference to, concerning, or about: to quarrel over a matter.
while engaged in or occupied with: to fall asleep over one's work.
via; by means of: He told me over the phone. I heard it over the radio.


beyond the top or upper surface or edge of something: a roof that hangs over.
so as to cover the surface, or affect the whole surface: The furniture was covered over with dust.
through a region, area, etc.: He was known the world over.
at some distance, as in a direction indicated: They live over by the hill.
from side to side; across; to the other side: to sail over.
across an intervening space: Toss the ball over, will you?
across or beyond the edge or rim: The soup boiled over. The bathtub ran over.
from beginning to end; throughout: to read a paper over; Think it over.
from one person, party, etc., to another: Hand the money over. He made the property over to his brother.
on the other side, as of a sea, a river, or any space: over in Japan.
so as to displace from an upright position: to knock over a glass of milk.
so as to put in the reversed position: She turned the bottle over. The dog rolled over.
once more; again: Do the work over.
in repetition or succession: twenty times over.
in excess or addition: to pay the full sum and something over.
in excess of or beyond a certain amount: Five goes into seven once, with two over.
throughout or beyond a period of time: to stay over till Monday.
to one's residence, office, or the like: Why don't you come over for lunch?
so as to reach a place across an intervening space, body of water, etc.: Her ancestors came over on the Mayflower


upper; higher up.
higher in authority, station, etc.
serving, or intended to serve, as an outer covering; outer.
remaining or additional, surplus; extra.
too great; excessive (usually used in combination): Insufficient tact and overaggressiveness are two of his problems.
ended; done; past: when the war was over.


an amount in excess or addition; extra.
Military. a shot that strikes or bursts beyond the target.
  1. the number of balls, usually six, delivered between successive changes of bowlers.
  2. the part of the game played between such changes.

verb (used with object)

to go or get over; leap over.
Southern U.S. to recover from.


(used in radio communications to signify that the sender has temporarily finished transmitting and is awaiting a reply or acknowledgment.)Compare out(def 53).

Origin of over

before 900; (adv., preposition) Middle English; Old English ofer; cognate with Dutch over, German ober; (adj.) Middle English over(e), orig. variant of uver(e) (E dial. uver; cf. love), Old English ufera (akin to ofer), assimilated to the adv. form; akin to Latin super, Greek hypér, Sanskrit upari. See up, hyper- Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for all-over

British Dictionary definitions for all-over



covering the entire surface



  1. the whole quantity or amount of; totality of; every one of a classall 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 possiblein all earnestness
any whateverto lose all hope of recovery; beyond all doubt
above all most of all; especially
after all See after (def. 11)
all along all the time
all but almost; nearlyall but dead
all of no less or smaller thanshe's all of thirteen years
all over
  1. finished; at an endthe 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. sportin a dominant position over
See all in
all in all
  1. everything consideredall in all, it was a great success
  2. the object of one's attention or interestyou are my all in all
all that or that (usually used with a negative) informal (intensifier)she's not all that intelligent
all the (foll by a comparative adjective or adverb) so much (more or less) than otherwisewe must work all the faster now
all too definitely but regrettablyit's all too true
and all
  1. British informalas well; tooand you can take that smile off your face and all
  2. Southern Africana parenthetical filler phrase used at the end of a statement to make a sl ight pause in speaking
and all that informal
  1. and similar or associated things; et ceteracoffee, 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 forceshe was sweet and pretty and all that, but I still didn't like her
  3. See that (def. 4)
as all that as one might expect or hopeshe'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 degreeI didn't know that at all
  2. even so; anywayI'm surprised you came at all
be all for informal to be strongly in favour of
be all that informal, mainly US to be exceptionally good, talented, or attractive
for all
  1. in so far as; to the extent thatfor all anyone knows, he was a baron
  2. notwithstandingfor all my pushing, I still couldn't move it
for all that in spite of thathe was a nice man for all that
in all altogetherthere were five of them in all


(in scores of games) apiece; eachthe score at half time was three all
completelyall alone
be all … informal used for emphasis when introducing direct speech or nonverbal communicationhe was all, 'I'm not doing that'


(preceded by my, your, his, etc) (one's) complete effort or interestto give your all; you are my all
totality or whole
Related formsRelated prefixes: pan-, panto-

Word Origin for all

Old English eall; related to Old High German al, Old Norse allr, Gothic alls all



directly above; on the top of; via the top or upper surface ofover one's head
on or to the other side ofover the river
during; through, or throughout (a period of time)
in or throughout all parts ofto travel over England
throughout the whole extent ofover the racecourse
above; in preference toI like that over everything else
by the agency of (an instrument of telecommunication)we heard it over the radio
more thanover a century ago
on the subject of; aboutan argument over nothing
while occupied indiscussing business over golf
having recovered from the effects ofshe's not over that last love affair yet
over and above added to; in addition tohe earns a large amount over and above his salary


in a state, condition, situation, or position that is or has been placed or put over somethingto climb over
(particle) so as to cause to fallknocking over a policeman
at or to a point across intervening space, water, etccome over and see us; over in America
throughout a whole areathe world over
(particle) from beginning to end, usually cursorilyto read a document over
throughout a period of timestay over for this week
(esp in signalling and radio) it is now your turn to speak, act, etc
more than is expected or usualnot over well
over again once more
over against
  1. opposite to
  2. contrasting with
over and over (often foll by again) repeatedly
over the odds
  1. in addition, esp when not expected
  2. unfair or excessive


(postpositive) finished; no longer in progressis the concert over yet?

adverb, adjective

remaining; surplus (often in the phrase left over)


  1. a series of six balls bowled by a bowler from the same end of the pitch
  2. the play during this

Word Origin for over

Old English ofer; related to Old High German ubir, obar, Old Norse yfir, Latin super, Greek huper
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 all-over

"covering every part," 1859, from all + over. All-overish "generally, indefinitely indisposed" is from 1820.



Old English ofer "beyond, above, upon, in, across, past; on high," from Proto-Germanic *uberi (cf. Old Saxon obar, Old Frisian over, Old Norse yfir, Old High German ubar, German über, Gothic ufar "over, above"), from PIE *uper (see super-). As an adjective from Old English uffera. As an adverb from late Old English. Sense of "finished" is attested from late 14c. Meaning "recovered from" is from 1929. In radio communication, used to indicate the speaker has finished speaking (1926). Adjective phrase over-the-counter is attested from 1875, originally of stocks and shares.


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

Idioms and Phrases with all-over


In addition to the idioms beginning with all

  • all along
  • all along the line
  • all and sundry
  • all at once
  • all at sea
  • all better
  • all but
  • all cylinders
  • all ears
  • all else being equal
  • alley cat
  • all eyes
  • all for
  • all for the best
  • all gone
  • all hours
  • all in a day's work
  • all in all
  • all in, be
  • all in good time
  • all in one piece
  • all joking aside
  • all kinds of
  • all of
  • all of a sudden
  • all of the above
  • all one
  • all out
  • all outdoors, big as
  • all over
  • all over but the shouting
  • all over one
  • all over the place
  • all over with
  • all present and accounted for
  • all right
  • all right for you
  • all right with one
  • all roads lead to Rome
  • all set
  • all sewed up
  • all shook up
  • all sorts
  • all systems go
  • all talk (and no action)
  • all that
  • all that glitters is not gold
  • all the
  • all the best
  • all the better
  • all the rage
  • all there
  • all the same
  • all the thing
  • all the time
  • all the way
  • all the worse
  • all things to all people, be
  • all thumbs
  • all told
  • all to the good
  • all up
  • all very well
  • all well and good
  • all wet
  • all wool and a yard wide
  • all work and no play (makes Jack a dull boy)
  • all year round

also see:

  • above all
  • after all
  • against all odds
  • as all getout
  • at all
  • at all costs
  • be-all and end-all
  • beat all
  • by all accounts
  • by all means
  • by all odds
  • cap it all
  • fall all over
  • firing on all cylinders
  • first of all
  • for all
  • for all I care
  • for all I know
  • for all one's worth
  • for all that
  • get away (from it all)
  • get one's act (it all) together
  • go all the way
  • have all one's buttons
  • have it all over someone
  • have it both ways (all)
  • hit on all cylinders
  • hold all the aces
  • in a (all of a) dither
  • in all
  • in all good conscience
  • in all one's born days
  • in all probability
  • (all) in the same boat
  • it's all downhill from here
  • it's all over with
  • it takes all sorts
  • jump all over
  • know all the answers
  • know-it-all
  • laugh all the way to the bank
  • least of all
  • let it all hang out
  • not all it's cracked up to be
  • not at all
  • not for all the tea in china
  • no time at all
  • of all the nerve
  • of all things
  • once and for all
  • one and all
  • pull out all the stops
  • put all one's eggs in one basket
  • seen one, seen them all
  • till all hours
  • to all intents and purposes
  • (all) to the good
  • turn out all right
  • walk all over
  • warts and all
  • when all's said and done
  • with all due respect
  • with all one's heart
  • you can't win them all


In addition to the idioms beginning with over

  • over a barrel
  • over again
  • over against
  • over and above
  • over and done with
  • over and over
  • over my dead body
  • over one's head
  • over the edge
  • over the hill
  • over the hump
  • over the top
  • over with

also see:

  • all over

(and entries beginning with all over)bend over backwardbind overblow overboil overbowl overcarry overcheck on (over)chew the cud (over)cloud overcome overcross overcrow overcry over spilt milkdo overdraw a veil overdrop by (over)fall all overfork overfuck overget overget the advantage of (over)give overgloss overgo overhand overhand over fisthang overhash overhave a hold overhave it (all over someone)head over heelshold overhoneymoon is overin deep water (over one's head)it's all over withjump all overkeel overkeep watch (over)kick over the tracesknock for a loop (over with a feather)knock overlay overlook like death (warmed over)look overlord it overlose sleep overmake overmind over mattermull overonce over lightlypaper overparty's overpass overpick overpull overpull the wool over someone's eyesput overrake over the coalsride roughshod overroll overroof over one's headrun one's eyes overrun overscoot oversign oversleep oversmooth overstand overstart overstop off (over)take overtalk overthink overthrow overtide overtill hell freezes overturn in (over) one's graveturn overturn over a new leafwalk all overwatch overwater over the damwin overwork over.

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