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be-all and end-all

[ bee-awl uhnd -end-awl ]
/ ˈbiˌɔl ənd ˈɛndˌɔl /
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noun

the central and all-important part: His work was the be-all and end-all of his existence.

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“Was” is used for the indicative past tense of “to be,” and “were” is only used for the subjunctive past tense.

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Origin of be-all and end-all

First recorded in 1595–1605
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

Example sentences from the Web for be-all and end-all

British Dictionary definitions for be-all and end-all

be-all and end-all

noun informal

the ultimate aim or justificationto provide help for others is the be-all and end-all of this group
often jocular a person or thing considered to be beyond improvement
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
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