"all things to all people" meaning in English

Noun

Forms: construed as singular [often] Audio: en-au-all things to all people.ogg [Australia]
  1. Someone or something that entirely satisfies the expectations of everyone, no matter how diverse and conflicting those expectations may be. Tags: idiomatic

Alternative forms

Download JSON data for all things to all people meaning in English (2.5kB)

{
  "etymology_templates": [],
  "etymology_text": "From Holy Bible (King James Version), 1 Corinthians 9:22: \"To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.\"",
  "forms": [
    {
      "form": "construed as singular",
      "tags": [
        "often"
      ]
    }
  ],
  "head_templates": [
    {
      "args": {
        "1": "en",
        "2": "noun",
        "head": "all things to all people"
      },
      "expansion": "all things to all people",
      "name": "head"
    }
  ],
  "lang": "English",
  "lang_code": "en",
  "pos": "noun",
  "senses": [
    {
      "categories": [],
      "examples": [
        {
          "ref": "1851, Sir John William Kaye, History of the War in Afghanistan, Volume 2, p. 382 (Google preview)",
          "text": "It was obviously his policy to appear all things to all people. He could not venture to take any decided course."
        },
        {
          "ref": "1967, Barbara J. Horn, M.S.N.Ed., Aequanimitas, University of Michigan Medical School, p. 170 (Google preview)",
          "text": "No longer can we be all things to all people! We must decide which path to follow — are we to be physicians assistants, coordinators, supervisors, or skilled practitioners of nursing. The choice is ours!"
        },
        {
          "ref": "1990 April 9, Paul Gray, \"Grapevine: Lech Walesa and Tadeusz Mazowiecki,\" Time (retrieved 21 Feb 2017)",
          "text": "Most Poles realize that Solidarity cannot go on being all things to all people: trade union, political party, shaper of the country's future."
        },
        {
          "ref": "1995 January 29, Todd S. Purdum, \"The Nation: Underwear and All; Dignifying the Presidency,\" New York Times (retrieved 21 Feb 2017)",
          "text": "Mr. Clinton is often accused of wanting to be all things to all people, but that is a classic occupational hazard of his job."
        },
        {
          "ref": "2005 Feb. 26, Joanna Moorhead, \"Why not leave school at 16?,\" Independent (UK) (retrieved 21 Feb 2017)",
          "text": "\"There's also a problem about schools being expected to be all things to all people.\""
        }
      ],
      "glosses": [
        "Someone or something that entirely satisfies the expectations of everyone, no matter how diverse and conflicting those expectations may be."
      ],
      "id": "all_things_to_all_people-noun",
      "tags": [
        "idiomatic"
      ]
    }
  ],
  "sounds": [
    {
      "audio": "en-au-all things to all people.ogg",
      "mp3_url": "https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/transcoded/e/e0/En-au-all_things_to_all_people.ogg/En-au-all_things_to_all_people.ogg.mp3",
      "ogg_url": "https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e0/En-au-all_things_to_all_people.ogg",
      "tags": [
        "Australia"
      ],
      "text": "Audio (AU)"
    }
  ],
  "word": "all things to all people"
}
{
  "etymology_templates": [],
  "etymology_text": "From Holy Bible (King James Version), 1 Corinthians 9:22: \"To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.\"",
  "forms": [
    {
      "form": "construed as singular",
      "tags": [
        "often"
      ]
    }
  ],
  "head_templates": [
    {
      "args": {
        "1": "en",
        "2": "noun",
        "head": "all things to all people"
      },
      "expansion": "all things to all people",
      "name": "head"
    }
  ],
  "lang": "English",
  "lang_code": "en",
  "pos": "noun",
  "senses": [
    {
      "categories": [
        "English idioms",
        "English lemmas",
        "English multiword terms",
        "English nouns",
        "English terms with audio links"
      ],
      "examples": [
        {
          "ref": "1851, Sir John William Kaye, History of the War in Afghanistan, Volume 2, p. 382 (Google preview)",
          "text": "It was obviously his policy to appear all things to all people. He could not venture to take any decided course."
        },
        {
          "ref": "1967, Barbara J. Horn, M.S.N.Ed., Aequanimitas, University of Michigan Medical School, p. 170 (Google preview)",
          "text": "No longer can we be all things to all people! We must decide which path to follow — are we to be physicians assistants, coordinators, supervisors, or skilled practitioners of nursing. The choice is ours!"
        },
        {
          "ref": "1990 April 9, Paul Gray, \"Grapevine: Lech Walesa and Tadeusz Mazowiecki,\" Time (retrieved 21 Feb 2017)",
          "text": "Most Poles realize that Solidarity cannot go on being all things to all people: trade union, political party, shaper of the country's future."
        },
        {
          "ref": "1995 January 29, Todd S. Purdum, \"The Nation: Underwear and All; Dignifying the Presidency,\" New York Times (retrieved 21 Feb 2017)",
          "text": "Mr. Clinton is often accused of wanting to be all things to all people, but that is a classic occupational hazard of his job."
        },
        {
          "ref": "2005 Feb. 26, Joanna Moorhead, \"Why not leave school at 16?,\" Independent (UK) (retrieved 21 Feb 2017)",
          "text": "\"There's also a problem about schools being expected to be all things to all people.\""
        }
      ],
      "glosses": [
        "Someone or something that entirely satisfies the expectations of everyone, no matter how diverse and conflicting those expectations may be."
      ],
      "tags": [
        "idiomatic"
      ]
    }
  ],
  "sounds": [
    {
      "audio": "en-au-all things to all people.ogg",
      "mp3_url": "https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/transcoded/e/e0/En-au-all_things_to_all_people.ogg/En-au-all_things_to_all_people.ogg.mp3",
      "ogg_url": "https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e0/En-au-all_things_to_all_people.ogg",
      "tags": [
        "Australia"
      ],
      "text": "Audio (AU)"
    }
  ],
  "synonyms": [
    {
      "word": "all things to all men"
    }
  ],
  "word": "all things to all people"
}

This page is a part of the kaikki.org machine-readable English dictionary. This dictionary is based on structured data extracted on 2021-10-15 from the enwiktionary dump dated 2021-10-01 using wiktextract. The data shown on this site has been post-processed and various details (e.g., extra categories) removed, some information disambiguated, and additional data merged from other sources. See the raw data download page for the unprocessed wiktextract data.