What Does End All Be All Mean?

End All Be All Meaning

Definition: The main, most important thing.

Sometimes this expression appears as the be all end all, or the be all and end all. Occasionally dashes are used to separate the words.

Origin of the End All Be All

This expression appeared in the English playwright William Shakespeare’s play Macbeth, in the year 1605.

If it were done when ’tis done, then ’twere well it were done quickly: if the assassination could trammel up the consequence, and catch, with his surcease, success; that but this blow might be the be-all and end-all here.

Examples of the End All Be All

the be all and end all meaningThe dialogue below shows two friends talking about their priorities while getting ready to go to a party.

Giuseppe: May, hurry up! We’re going to be late!

May: That’s okay. It’s polite to be a little late to parties.

Giuseppe: I’ve never heard that before.

May: Yes, it’s called being fashionably late.

Giuseppe: Well, where I am from it is polite to show up on time. What is taking you so long anyway?

May: I’m just making some last minute adjustments to my outfit.

Giuseppe: That’s not nearly as important as being there on time!

May: Are you kidding me? It’s way more important.

Giuseppe: It’s not important at all! You’re acting like your clothes are the end all be all of this event! You’ll have a good time regardless of what you are wearing.

May: You’re wrong. My clothes are the most important thing in determining the outcome of tonight’s party. I want to meet someone wildly attractive and interesting, and to do that, I have to look my best!

be all and end all meaningIn the dialogue below, a father and his daughter use the expression while talking about getting another pet.

Rafal: So Vesna, what did you want to tell me?

Vesna: I have a list of 100 reasons why I should be allowed to get another dog.

Rafal: Let me save you some time. You did a good job training your last dog, which is great! However, your school grades have not been great this year.

Vesna: So? Grades aren’t that important? It’s more important to be a good person.

Rafal: That may be true. However, the end all be all in regards to you getting a new pet is your report card. If you get all As in your classes this semester, I will let you get another pet.

Vesna: Okay. It’s a deal!

More Examples

This article is about one of the most important aspects of coaching a football team.

  • “I believe more and more it’s so important to have the entire coaching staff buy in and listen to them, listen to the nuances of what their evaluation is,” Falcons General Manager Thomas Dimitroff said. “It’s not the end all, be all. But I want to make sure people are truly in. Otherwise, within a few months, a D-coordinator or position coach could say, ‘I didn’t want this guy anyway.’” –LA Times

The second excerpt is about an athlete whose school was the most important thing when deciding where to play football.

  • Golden visited other schools, but wasn’t tempted to leave: “(Penn State) is the end all, be all for me. That’s home.” –LA Times


The phrase end all be all means the ultimate goal or the most imperative part of something.