What Does All for the Best Mean?

All for the Best Meaning

Definition: Refers to a decision that is the right one or the best one for the long run, although it may not seem so at the time.

The phrase all for the best typically refers to a decision that is the best or correct one to make. This especially applies to decisions that may not seem the best or most favorable to make in the short term. Using the phrase implies that, although the outcome may not be what the individual wanted, the decision is the right or best one to make.

Origin of and Ways to Use All for the Best

The etymology of this phrase is unclear, although it is thought that this phrase originated during the 14th century. There is little information regarding its first use in print.

define all the best idiomThis phrase has only one meaning and is typically used in one context. It refers to situations or decisions that result in unhappy or unwanted outcomes for the person or people involved. While the outcome may not be what each individual wanted, it is the most appropriate in the long run.

This phrase can be shortened to for the best, which has the same meaning as the full phrase.

Examples of All for the Best

meaning of it is all for the bestThe following exchange between a young boy and his mother illustrates the correct use of this phrase.

Aaron: I don’t want to give the puppy away!

Mom: I know, sweetie. But it’s all for the best. We just can’t take care of her the way she needs. If we give her to a good home, she’ll have a better life.

Alternatively, Aaron’s mother could have told him it was for the best.

More Examples

  • Optimistically, she points out that one major change is all for the best. – NY Post
  • The school district confirmed that Camejo, who claims to be a former talent scout for Major League Baseball, is no longer an employee of the district. Perhaps that’s all for the best. – USA Today


The English phrase all for the best refers to a decision that may not seem like the best or most favorable decision to make at the time but will yield the best outcome for all parties involved.