What does the idiom "all in" mean?

Are you using the idiom all in but not sure about its meaning? Using idioms, which are important elements of spoken and written language, in the right place strengthens your language skills. Examine the meaning of the all in idiom and the situations in which it is used.

Meaning of "all in"


The "all in" idiom is an American expression used to signify a complete commitment, an undertaking of something involving a substantial risk or cost. It is commonly used as a reply when someone suggests a daring or challenging action, where the person answering is willing to take the plunge. It can also be used to offer encouragement to another person. It implies a level of trust and readiness, with the person committing themselves fully to whatever plan or task is before them.


The phrase “all in” appears to have originated in the 19th century. A common theory is that it was a slang term used by gamblers who put all their chips in the pot to signify their willingness to risk it all. It was only later used in more general contexts, often in a more figurative manner. The phrase “all in” is also connected to the game of poker, wherein the phrase is used to denote a player’s commitment to their hand.


The “all in” idiom is commonly used by Americans in many different contexts and situations. It can refer to someone taking a large risk or showing willingness to take a risk for a larger reward. It can also be used to show support for someone else’s suggested plan or course of action. In some cases, it can be used in a more sarcastic manner, to imply a lack of commitment or guts by someone else.

Example Sentences

  • John: "I think we should try to break into the store and steal the money."

    Jane: "I'm all in!"

  • "Are you going to take the job offer or not?"

    "I'm all in!"

  • "I'm so nervous about speaking in front of the class!"

    "Don't worry, you got this. You're all in!"

The meanings of the words in the "all in" idiom

The power of idioms transcends languages!

"Putting the cart before the horse" is an English idiom that means doing things in the wrong order. In Russian, the similar idiom is "Кладёт колесо впереди лошади," which translates to "Putting the cart before the horse." This idiom emphasizes the idea that doing things in the wrong order can lead to confusion and problems down the line.


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