at all

Idioms & Phrases

at all

  1. In any way or manner, as in Is she able to sing at all?

  2. To any extent, as in Was she at all surprised?

  3. For any reason, as in Why bother at all?

  4. In the slightest degree, under any circumstances, as in She simply refused to walk at all. This construction often occurs in the negative, as in He was not at all frightened. All four senses of this phrase date from the mid-1300s.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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