What Does All Over But the Shouting Mean?

All Over But the Shouting Meaning

Definition: Refers to decisions, situations, or events that are still in progress but have nearly certain outcomes.

The idiom all over but the shouting refers to situations, decisions, or events that are still in progress, but the outcome is almost certain. In this context, shouting refers to celebration or public outcry following a decision or event.

This idiom may also be written as all over bar the shouting and another similar phrase is all over but the crying.

Origin of All Over but the Shouting

all over but the shout in quotesThe exact etymology of this idiom is contested. This idiom first appeared in a 1942 article by Charles James Apperley featured in The Sporting Magazine.

However, this idiom is often traced back to 19th century voting practices. In elections, ballots were counted by hand. Usually, when the count was first announced, the customary crowd of people that gathered to await the results cheered loudly. Oftentimes, this was a preliminary indication of who would win the election, hence the expression, all over but the shouting.

Another theory about the origin of this idiom refers to the general argumentative shouting that might occur when it is revealed that an outcome has been previously decided. None of these origin theories have been verified, but all of them are plausible.

Examples of All Over but the Shouting

Define all over but the cryingSince this idiom is somewhat outdated, it is not commonly used in everyday speech. However, when it is used, it usually refers to sporting and political events, or other events that result in celebration.

This example exchange between two friends demonstrates how native speakers might use this idiom.

Rudy: How’s the game going?

Wendy: There’s still another quarter left, but we are down by 30 points. It’s all over but the shouting.

More Examples

  • With record temperatures last week and torrential rains this week, you would think the West Virginia ski season would be all over but the shouting. – Huntington Herald-Dispatch

Summary

The English idiom all over but the shouting is used to refer to outcomes that are nearly certain, although they might still be in progress.