What does the idiom "for all" mean?

The expression for all is one of the idioms that often finds a place in our literature and enriches our language. However, its meaning is not fully understood, so it is sometimes used in the wrong situations. Please review the explanation carefully for the correct use of the for all idiom.

Meaning of "for all"


The phrase “for all” is used as an idiomatic expression that means “everyone,” “everything,” or “every one.” It is typically used to indicate that an action has a universal scope or application, and that it is meant to encompass all members of a given group or situation. For example, a statement such as “I am doing this for all of you” implies that the action will benefit all of the listeners or recipients.


The phrase “for all” is a combination of two words, the preposition “for” and the article “all.” The word “for” is derived from the Proto-Germanic word “fura,” which means “in front of” or “before.” The word “all” is an Old English word “eal,” which is used to indicate “each,” “every,” or “all.” The phrase was first used in the late 15th century, and has been in use in English ever since.


The phrase “for all” is most commonly used in spoken English, especially in more casual contexts. It is typically used to emphasize the universality of an action. For example, one could say “I will do this for all of you” to indicate that the action is intended to benefit all of the listeners; similarly, one could say “I will do this for all people” to indicate that the action is intended to benefit everyone. It can also be used to indicate universality in a more abstract sense, such as when one says “This is true for all people” to indicate that the statement applies to everyone.

Example Sentences

  • “The teacher told us that she would help us all, for all of the students in the class.”
  • “I will fight for all those who cannot fight for themselves.”
  • “This rule applies

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

The Surprising Origins of Everyday English Idioms

Many English idioms have surprisingly dark origins, often rooted in violence, death, and superstition. For instance, the phrase "raining cats and dogs" is said to have originated in the 17th century, when heavy rain would often cause dead animals to wash up on the streets. Meanwhile, the idiom "rule of thumb" is believed to have originated from a law that allowed men to beat their wives with a stick no thicker than their thumb.


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