A-Z Database

A-Z Database

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All for one, one for all

The motto made famous by the three musketeers in Alexandre Dumas The Three Musketeers (1842), “All for one, one for all that is our device.” Shakespea...

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All gas and gaiters

This expression was coined by Charles Dickens in Nicholas Nickleby (1839). The words were deliberately nonsensical, but in the Dickensian context, mea...

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All Greek to me

see Greek to me

All grist for the mill

see Grist for/to the mill

All guns blazing

see Go down with all guns blazing/firing

All hands on deck/all hands to the pump/wheel

All these phrases signify a collective effort and are obviously nautical in origin, but they had all become figurative by the mid-19th century.

All hell broke loose

Sometimes expressed as all hell let loose it describes a situation where, figuratively, all the demons of hell are about to be released, in other word...

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All in good time

Meaning no sooner than appropriate, this expression dates from the 16th century, when in good time meant timely or with time to spare.

All manner of means

see By all manner of means

All mouth and trousers

The origin of this delightful expression is thought to be the north of England during the latter half of the 19th century but no one knows for sure. I...

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All my eye (and Betty Martin)

'All my eye and Betty Martin' is a quaint British expression that dates from the late 18th century, and was a standard retort to anyone who was talkin...

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All one’s eggs in one basket

see Eggs in one basket

All over bar the shouting

Of a contest, almost finished and where the result is virtually decided before the crowd’s final applause or derision, dates from the early 19th centu...

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All over the shop / show

'All over the shop' is British informal for disorganised or chaotic, and dates from the mid-19th century. It means the same thing as 'all over the pla...

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All over, red rover

This expression signifying the end of something (most commonly in a sporting context) derives from the children’s game of British Bulldogs where indiv...

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