What does the idiom "of all people" mean?

Are you using the idiom of all people but not sure about its meaning? Using idioms, which are important elements of spoken and written language, in the right place strengthens your language skills. Examine the meaning of the of all people idiom and the situations in which it is used.

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 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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