free-for-all

[free-fer-awl]

noun

a fight, argument, contest, etc., open to everyone and usually without rules.
any competition or contested situation that is disordered, impulsive, or out of control: a free-for-all at the buffet table.
Informal. any enterprise or field of endeavor in which various companies, countries, participants, etc., compete without restriction: a price-cutting free-for-all among local stores.

adjective

open to everyone.

Nearby words

  1. free-cutting,
  2. free-fall,
  3. free-fire zone,
  4. free-floating,
  5. free-floating anxiety,
  6. free-form,
  7. free-hand,
  8. free-handed,
  9. free-hearted,
  10. free-living

Origin of free-for-all

An Americanism dating back to 1880–85

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for free-for-all


British Dictionary definitions for free-for-all

free-for-all

noun

informal a disorganized brawl or argument, usually involving all those present
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 free-for-all

free-for-all

n.

"mass brawl" (one in which all may participate), 1881.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper