What Does All’s Well That Ends Well Mean?

All’s Well That Ends Well Meaning

Definition: Despite problems during a process, the project can be considered a success.

This phrase is used after a troubled start to a project or process, but, after a rocky start, things turned out okay. The happy ending compensates for the difficulties in arriving at the destination.

Origin of All’s Well that Ends Well

alls well that ends well quotesThe American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms states that this proverb dates back to around 1250 A.D.

We can find evidence of it in a 1546 book of proverbs by John Heywood, in which he wrote,

Tushe (quoth mine aunte) these lovers in dotage

Thinke the ground beare them not, but wed of corage

They must in all haste, though a leafe of borage

Might by all the substance that they can fell.

Well aunt (quoth Ales) all is well that endes well.

The phrase became quite popular after Shakespeare’s play of the same name was written—between 1604 and 1605. It was not widely acclaimed then or now, but it shows the proverb’s place in everyday English as early as the 17th century.

Example of All’s Well that Ends Well

alls well that ends wellIn modern day, people use this phrase to indicate a happy ending despite initial setbacks or uncertainty.

For example, someone might say,

  • Although your car had a flat tire on the way, I’m glad you finally got here. Oh, well. All’s well that ends well.

Or perhaps guests were late to a party, but, in the end, everyone had a good time. The host might say,

  • I was worried no one would come. But all’s well that ends well.

More Examples

  • What often goes overlooked as an epilogue, to offer readers the desired “all’s well that ends well” conclusion, in fact, ties the loose ends in the narrative by answering the most sought after questions about the origins of the characters. –Press Trust of India
  • All’s well that ends well, except for when the middle is not so great. –The Herald Journal

Summary

The phrase all’s well that ends well means everything has turned out all right, despite the initial setbacks and problems. A situation may not have started in a good way, but it ended satisfactorily.

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