What does the idiom "be all very well" mean?

The phrase be all very well is often used in English, but what does this idiom mean? When idioms are used in the right situations, they strengthen communication and enrich the language. You can communicate more effectively by learning the meaning of be all very well.

Meaning of "be all very well"


The idiom "be all very well" is an expression used to express doubt about the merits of an idea or action. It suggests that, although an idea or action might seem appealing, it could be flawed due to certain limitations or drawbacks. Additionally, it can be used to point out the impracticality of certain aspects of a plan, or to suggest that an alternative solution might be better. The phrase can be used to express both scepticism and caution.


The phrase “be all very well” is an English idiom that has been in use since the early 19th century. The phrase was first used in the book “Tales of Mystery and Imagination” by noted Irish author, Edward Bulwer-Lytton (1799-1873). In the book, Bulwer-Lytton uses the phrase in a scene in which a character expresses doubt about the efficacy of a plan. Bulwer-Lytton writes: “It might be all very well for you, but I’ve got my conscience to consider.” This phrase has been widely repeated in literature since then.


The phrase “be all very well” is typically used to express doubt or scepticism regarding the merits of an idea or action. It is often used as a rebuttal when one disagrees with an idea or proposal. Additionally, it is also used in a non-confrontational way to suggest that a different approach might be more suitable. It can be used both in informal and formal contexts.

Example Sentences

  • “It may be all very well to do that, but it won’t solve the problem.”
  • “It might be all very well for them, but I don’t think it’s the best option for us.”
  • “It may be all very well in theory, but in practice, it could be quite difficult.”

The meanings of the words in the "be all very well" idiom

The universal role of idioms

"Kill two birds with one stone" is an English idiom that means to accomplish two things with a single action. In French, the similar idiom is "Faire d'une pierre deux coups," which translates to "To kill two birds with one stone." This idiom highlights the efficiency of completing two tasks with one action.


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