What Does All Present and Accounted For Mean?

All Present and Accounted For Meaning

Definition: The people or things that should be in a certain location are present; nothing or no one is missing or unaccounted for.

This phrase refers to people or things that should be in a certain location at a certain time. When people are all present and accounted for, everyone is in his or her proper place at the correct time.

An example might be a school field trip. If all of the students are present and accounted for, that means they have all arrived, none of them is lost, and things can proceed.

This phrase most commonly refers to people, but can also refer to objects.

Origin of and Ways to Use All Present and Accounted For

All accounted forThe etymology of this phrase is unclear. However, it is speculated that this phrase originated in the military as a way to answer roll call.

While it usually refers to people, this phrase can also refer to inanimate objects. For example, if you are making homemade stew, you might say before you start making it that all of the ingredients are present and accounted for.

A slightly different phrase is all present or accounted for. This has a slightly different implication. It implies that those who are not present have been accounted for.

The phrase all present and accounted for simply means that everyone or everything is present and accounted for. There is nothing or no one that is not present.

Examples of All Present and Accounted For

all present or accounted forThis example exchange between two teachers who are chaperoning a student field trip illustrates the correct use of this phrase.

Mrs. Davis: Have we got all the students?

Mr. Bower: Yep, all present and accounted for.

Although this example refers to people, this phrase can also be used to refer to inanimate objects.

Mechanic: Do we have all of the parts from this car?

Assistant: Yes, everything is present and accounted for.

Mechanic: Good. Be sure not to lose anything.

More Examples

  • While the cops from last season seem to be all present and accounted for, the series this season introduces viewers to an entirely new group of characters, the secretive and (sometimes) larcenous dock workers and their union chieftains. – NY Post
  • Granted there are a whole host of PS3 games on here so it’s not like Sony is being completely overlooked, but it does make a statement that Xbox One’s three biggest exclusives plus Call of Duty are all present and accounted for. – Forbes

Summary

The English phrase all present and accounted for is used to express that the people or things that are meant to be in a certain location at a certain time are all present.

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