What does the idiom "for all I know" mean?

The phrase for all I know 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 for all I know.

Meaning of "for all I know"


The phrase “for all I know” is an idiom that is used as a way of expressing uncertainty or doubt about something. It is usually used to refer to something that the speaker is not sure of, and has no idea about. In some cases, it can also be used to suggest that there may be more to something than what the speaker is aware of.


The phrase “for all I know” is believed to have originated in the early 19th century, when people would often use the phrase to express doubt or uncertainty. It is thought to have been derived from the phrase “for all I know of,” which is still sometimes used today. This phrase has been in use since the mid-1800s and was first used in print by the American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in his poem The Skeleton in Armor (1841).


The phrase “for all I know” is often used to express uncertainty or a lack of knowledge when speaking about a particular subject. It is typically used in spoken English, but can also be used in writing. It is commonly used in conversations when the speaker is unsure of what they are saying, or when they are unsure of the answer to a question. It can also be used as a way of expressing doubt or skepticism about something.

Example Sentences

  • I don’t know who won the election – for all I know, it could have been a tie.
  • I’m not sure if I’ll get the job – for all I know, the position might have been filled already.
  • I don’t know what happened – for all I know, it could have been an accident.

The meanings of the words in the "for all I know" idiom

From Shakespeare to Social Media: The Evolution of English Idioms

English idioms have been around for centuries, with many originating from sources like literature, mythology, and everyday life. Shakespeare, for example, coined many phrases that are still used today, such as "break the ice" and "heart of gold." Over time, new idioms have emerged, with social media and popular culture providing rich sources of inspiration. For instance, the phrase "throwing shade" came into use in the 1990s thanks to ball culture, but has since been popularized by social media.


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