What does the idiom "of all people" mean?

The expression of all people 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 of all people idiom.

Meaning of "of all people"


The phrase ‘of all people’ is an idiom used to express surprise at a person’s behaviour or actions. The phrase is usually followed by someone’s name, and implies that this person is the last person one would expect to do or say something.


The phrase ‘of all people’ has its origins in the Latin phrase ‘omnium gentium’, which translates literally to ‘of all nations’. It was originally used to express surprise at someone’s international origins. It has evolved over time to mean an expression of surprise at any given person’s behaviour.


The phrase ‘of all people’ is generally used to express disbelief or surprise at the action of someone unexpected. It is typically used when someone has done or said something that is unusual or unexpected, and to express that the person doing or saying this was the last person anyone would expect to do so.

Example Sentences

  • “Of all people, I’d never have expected John to be the one who wanted to go skydiving.”
  • “Of all people, you’re the last one I’d have expected to win the race.”
  • “I was surprised when I heard it was Sally who was being fired – of all people!”

The meanings of the words in the "of all people" 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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