What does the idiom "all told" mean?

Are you using the idiom all told 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 told idiom and the situations in which it is used.

Meaning of "all told"


The idiom "all told" is an expression that typically means "in all" or "altogether". It emphasizes the number of items, people, or things that are being discussed and is used to describe the total. It is typically used toward the end of a discussion or statement to summarize the quantity of something.


The idiom "all told" is believed to have come into use in the United States during the 1800s. The earliest documented use of the idiom was in an 1824 edition of the American newspaper The Ohio Republican. A letter dated February 7th, 1824, used the phrase "all told, about one hundred of them". The phrase is thought to have come from the Latin phrase omnis, which means "all".


The phrase "all told" is used to add emphasis to the total number or amount of something, typically summarizing or concluding a discussion or statement. The phrase is generally placed at the end of a sentence to make it clear that the amount being spoken about is the total amount. It is most commonly used when discussing a number of items or people, but can also be used when discussing a number of years, days, minutes, or any type of quantity.

Example Sentences

  • We had seven people in attendance at the meeting all told.
  • We spent over two hours on the project all told.
  • All told, we had three days to get the job done.
  • We had twelve members of staff all told.

The meanings of the words in the "all told" 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.


No comment has been written about all told yet, you can write the first comment and share your thoughts with our other visitors.
Leave a Reply