Definition 2024


at all


Prepositional phrase

at all

  1. (idiomatic) Indicating degree, quantity or frequency greater than zero: to the slightest degree, in any way, somewhat, rather.
    • 1851, Herman Melville, Moby-Dick, Chapter 13: Wheelbarrow,
      He did not seem to think that he at all deserved a medal from the Humane and Magnanimous Societies.
    • 1865, Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Chapter 11: Who Stole the Tarts?,
      The judge, by the way, was the King; and as he wore his crown over the wig, (look at the frontispiece if you want to see how he did it), he did not look at all comfortable, and it was certainly not becoming.
    • 1993, Cormac McCarthy, Outer Dark, page 146,
      After a while he descended the steps into the road again and he stood there and looked all about him and listened for any sound at all but there was nothing.

Usage notes

  • Almost always used in negative sentences. Structures such as nothing at all, not ... any at all, etc. are common.


Derived terms