What does the idiom "Leave no stone unturned" mean?

Idioms are generally defined as groups of words that form a meaningful whole when they come together, even though the words in them do not make sense on their own. They have produced many idioms according to their own cultural characteristics in communities using the English language. What does Leave no stone unturned mean? In what situations is Leave no stone unturned used?

Meaning of "Leave no stone unturned"


The popular idiom ‘Leave no stone unturned’ is used to refer to a situation in which all possibilities and resources are explored and used in order to achieve a desired outcome or find a solution to a problem. It implies leaving nothing to chance and having a relentless and thorough approach to exploration, investigation and inquiry.


This phrase originates from Ancient Greece and the philosophical concept of “exhaustive search”, which stated that one should explore all potential sources in order to find a solution. The phrase was first attributed to Greek mathematician and historian Xenophon of Athens in his book, “Anabasis”, where he states that a commander should “leave no stone unturned” in his search for important information. The phrase has since been used to mean that one should strive to exhaust all possible resources in any search they undertake.


This idiom is often used in a variety of everyday contexts and settings, including business meetings, scientific research, and educational instruction. It is used to encourage an individual to put their best efforts into a task, and to make sure that no resources remain unexplored or untapped. It implies that the individual should be creative and innovative in their approach to a problem or task, and strive to make the best use of all resources available to them. It is also used as an expression of encouragement and support, providing the individual with reassurance and motivation to take on a difficult challenge or to persist in their attempts to find a solution.

Example Sentences

  • “If you want to make progress on this project, you will have to leave no stone unturned in your research.”
  • “When it comes to solving this problem, don’t be afraid to leave no stone unturned.”
  • “We need to be sure to leave no stone unturned in our efforts to find a solution.”
  • “If you want to be successful in your endeavors, you have to make sure to leave no stone unturned.”

The meanings of the words in the "Leave no stone unturned" 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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