: accepting no less than everything
he's an all-or-nothing perfectionist
: risking everything
an all-or-nothing combat strategy

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web While researching a show for the History Channel about — ironically enough — a civilization-ending pandemic, one of the Raw team was scouring survivalist forums online and came across the Hoffmans, a crew of six would-be gold miners from Oregon about to embark on an all-or-nothing trip to Alaska. Alex Ritman, The Hollywood Reporter, 12 May 2023 Remember, though, that these are not all-or-nothing ranges. Emily Abbate, Men's Health, 28 Apr. 2023 Tuesday night, the small-ball approach with Strus as the de facto power forward was exposed with the Heat outrebounded 63-39 in their 116-105 loss to the Atlanta Hawks that put them in this all-or-nothing position against the Bulls for the final playoff berth in the Eastern Conference. Ira Winderman, Sun Sentinel, 13 Apr. 2023 Lose, and there is a second-chance all-or-nothing home game next Friday night, against the winner of a Toronto Raptors-Chicago Bulls play-in game. Ira Winderman, Sun Sentinel, 8 Apr. 2023 Tweets, comments and reactions were divided into two opposing camps, both presenting problematic, all-or-nothing thinking. Hannah Yasharoff, USA TODAY, 29 Mar. 2023 But thanks, in part, to the pandemic, the stark all-or-nothing choices mothers have faced around working or not are becoming more flexible. Megan Leonhardt, Fortune, 26 Mar. 2023 The rebounding battle would end in Alabama’s favor (52 to 48), but SDSU’s all-or-nothing approach on the glass prevented the Tide from scoring a single point in transition. Nick Alvarez |, al, 25 Mar. 2023 Reducing your plastic footprint is not an all-or-nothing approach, Jackson says. Jerica Pender, Washington Post, 23 Mar. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'all-or-nothing.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1764, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of all-or-nothing was in 1764

Dictionary Entries Near all-or-nothing

Cite this Entry

“All-or-nothing.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Jun. 2023.

Medical Definition


all-or-noth·​ing -ˈnəth-iŋ How to pronounce all-or-nothing (audio)

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