People use idiomatic expressions, or idioms, to add character and dynamism to otherwise stale conversations and writing. Instead of saying that there was a torrential downpour last night, people may use that it was raining cats and dogs.
Another example is rooting for the underdog. This phrase means that people are on the side of the person (or team, if you’re talking about sports) who is likely to lose. An underdog is a predicted loser in a contest or struggle.
Today, we’re going to talk about a new phrase. This is end all be all.
What Does End All Be All Mean?
The meaning of end all be all is something of utmost importance, such as an ultimate goal. This could be a thing or a person that is absolutely crucial and seen as best. People sometimes use hyphens to separate the words.
When someone considers you as their “end all be all,” be flattered. This means that you’re vital and wonderful in that person’s eyes that it almost always ends their search for anything better or greater. They’re practically convinced that you’re the best and no one can top you.
Sometimes, people use the phrase “end all be all” disparagingly to refer to an event or an individual that is not important. When they add sarcasm to this phrase, the speaker obviously means the exact opposite.
The Origin of End All Be All
Just like other common idioms, this expression seems to have originated from William Shakespeare, a famous playwright, around 1605. A variation of End All Be All shows up in “Macbeth.”
This play tells the story of Macbeth, a Scottish general who assassinates King Duncan and claims the throne for himself after getting a prophecy that he’ll become King of Scotland one day. The events, unfortunately, don’t go well after this. This is a tragedy, as Macbeth turns into a tyrannical ruler and commits even more murders.
When Macbeth is thinking about murdering King Duncan, he said this:
“…this blow might be the be-all and the end-all here…”
Macbeth looks at the assassination of King Duncan as the end all be all, giving the former the goal he wants so desperately: to snatch the crown. He believes that murder the only option. The assassination will be the final word on the subject of Macbeth being king, It, therefore, is his ultimate goal.
If you’re familiar with the whole story of Macbeth, however, you’ll realize that the murder of King Duncan to get and keep the throne doesn’t turn out to be the end all be all. The titular character will be doing a lot more killings in the future, which causes a civil war.
Is It End All Be All or Be All End All?
When talking about the word order for end all be all, you can write this idiomatic expression in many different ways. You have the option to flip the order of the words and even use the word “and” to join the words together. You’ll find the expression written without and with hyphens.
Here are some of the correct forms of the phrase end all be all:
- Be All End All
- End-All and Be-All
- End All and Be All
- Be All and End All
Usually, the word “the” precedes the phrase and often “not the.” You can even pluralize the forms above with an addition of an “s” after each “all.” An example is “Be Alls and End Alls,” which refers to ultimate goals.
How Do You Use End All Be All?
Remember that end all be all refers to the most important thing or person, or something really good or important.
Take a look at these examples to see this idiomatic expression in action:
- Fancy MacBook Airs are the end all and be all for my children, but I can’t afford to obtain these gadgets.
- I love getting the opportunity to say a wonderful good night to my kids as I tuck them in bed. I consider this the be-all and end-all of my life.
- My younger sister thought of becoming a cheerleader was the end all be all, but she hates how snobby the girls are on the cheerleading squad.
- Winning the World Series trophy is the be all end all for a lot of baseball players.
Other Words for End All Be All
If you prefer to use different, you could substitute end all be all with a different synonym. Here are a few examples:
- If you want to be a great doctor, you’ll need to get straight As. This will be the most important thing for you.
- When whipping up this particular dish, saffron is the crucial ingredient when talking about flavor.
- You shouldn’t forget to attend this exam. This is your ultimate goal if you want to go further in your career.
The phrase end all be all has many variations. Regardless of the form you use, remember that the definition remains the same.