[awl-pur-puh s]


for every purpose: an all-purpose detergent.

Origin of all-purpose

First recorded in 1925–30 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for all-purpose

Contemporary Examples of all-purpose

Historical Examples of all-purpose

  • They were sitting in All-Purpose Lounges, arranged in a circle.


    Norman Spinrad

  • The carabao, or water buffalo, is the one all-purpose farm animal.

    The Old World and Its Ways

    William Jennings Bryan

  • It would be nice if we could report that they are fit for all-purpose service, on a wide range of planets.

    The Hunters

    William Morrison

  • Runkel's All-Purpose Cocoa is the finest quality chocolate, already a powder, all ready to use!

  • An all-purpose goat's milk, Parmesan type, eaten sliced when young, grated when old.

    The Complete Book of Cheese

    Robert Carlton Brown

British Dictionary definitions for all-purpose



useful for many things
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-purpose

1877, from all + purpose (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper