Posted by R. Berg on May 10, 2001
In Reply to: Origin and meaning of 'all in all' posted by larry richards on May 10, 2001
: Can anyone advise on the origin and meaning of 'all in all'? Please respond to the list and also to my email address.
From the Oxford English Dictionary:
"All in all": All things in all respects, all things altogether in one. . . . (See "in all" below, 9d.)
[Selected quotations, including the earliest:]
--1539 and 1611 BIBLE I Cor. xv. 28 That God maye be all in all [WYCLIF, alle thingis in alle thingis, TINDALE, all in all thinges].
--1596 R. CAREW in "Shaks. Cent. Praise" . . . Will you have all in all for Prose and verse?
--1824 BYRON Don J. . . . They were All in all to each other.
[Sense 9d, referred to above:]
"In all": In the whole number, all together; also, in whole.
--1611 BIBLE I Chron. ii.6 Fiue of them in all.
--1654 GENTILIS tr. Servita's Hist. Inquis. . . . It is received either in part or in all, or in part or in all laid aside.