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OED on 'all in all'

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.

: thanks,
: Larry

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.
[Sample quotations:]
--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.