all over the map


      • lack of focus or consistency
        Describing something as scattered, disorganized, or lacking a clear direction

      • wide-ranging or varied
        Referring to something that covers a wide range of topics, ideas, or locations

    Examples of all over the map

    • The new project has been all over the map in terms of organization and execution.

      This idiom is used to describe something that is disorganized, chaotic, and lacking consistency or direction. In this example, the project has had a lot of ups and downs, with different approaches and methods being used at different times. It's been difficult to predict or anticipate what will happen next, as the project seems to be going in many different directions at once.

    • After a turbulent few months, the company's sales have finally stabilized and are back on track. But earlier this year, they were all over the map, with unexpected spikes and dips in demand that left everyone baffled.

      This idiom can also be used to describe fluctuations or unpredictable patterns in data or trends. In this example, the company's sales were very volatile and unpredictable earlier in the year, with no clear pattern or explanation for the ups and downs. This made it difficult to forecast future sales or identify the root causes of the volatility.

    • The travel agent booked us a trip that was all over the map, including stops in Tokyo, Cairo, and Yellowstone National Park.

      This idiom can also be used figuratively to describe a sequence of disconnected or seemingly random events or activities. In this example, the travel agent planned a vacation itinerary that seemed to have no rhyme or reason, with destinations that were geographically and culturally very different from each other. This could make for an exciting and eclectic trip, but also a logistically challenging one.

    • After a night of heavy drinking, the partygoers were all over the map, with some passed out on the floor and others stumbling around the room.

      This idiom is often used to describe a group of people who are behaving erratically or without coordination, especially after consuming alcohol or other mind-altering substances. In this example, the partygoers were getting drunk and losing their inhibitions, resulting in a wide range of behaviors and physical states. Some people were asleep, some were dancing, some were flirting, and others were vomiting or arguing. It was a chaotic and unpredictable scene.

    • Sarah's study habits are all over the map. She crams for exams at the last minute, starts projects at midnight, and procrastinates until the deadline is almost here.

      Sarah's study habits are inconsistent and unpredictable, just like something that's all over the map. The phrase "all over the map" refers to something that's disorganized, chaotic, and lacking structure or direction.

    • John's career path has been all over the map. He's tried his hand at sales, marketing, and customer service, but nothing seems to stick.

      John's career has been unpredictable, with many ups and downs. The phrase "all over the map" suggests that there's no clear path or direction, and that John's interests and goals are scattered and unfocused.

    • The company's financial reports are all over the map. Some quarters show impressive profits, while others reveal significant losses.

      The company's financial performance has been erratic and unpredictable, with no clear trend or pattern. The phrase "all over the map" implies that there's no consistency or coherence in the data, making it difficult to draw any meaningful conclusions.

    • During the trial, the witnesses' testimonies were all over the map. Some claimed to have seen the suspect leaving the scene of the crime, while others said they never saw him at all.

      The witnesses' accounts of the crime were inconsistent and contradictory, making it difficult to establish the truth. The phrase "all over the map" suggests that there's no clear or consistent version of events, and that the truth is uncertain and difficult to discern.


    The idiom "all over the map" can be used to express either a lack of focus or consistency, or to describe something as wide-ranging or varied. It can be used in various contexts, such as in conversations about someone's thoughts or actions, or when discussing a wide range of topics or ideas.

    In the first meaning, the idiom is used to convey the idea that something is scattered, disorganized, or lacking a clear direction. It can be used to describe a person's thoughts or actions that lack focus, or a project or plan that lacks consistency.

    In the second meaning, the idiom is used to indicate that something covers a wide range of topics, ideas, or locations. It can be used to describe a conversation that touches on many different subjects, or a project that involves various locations or aspects.

    Overall, "all over the map" is a versatile idiom that can be used to convey different ideas of lack of focus or wide-ranging variety.

    Origin of "all over the map"

    The origin of the idiom "all over the map" is not definitively known, but it is believed to have originated in the United States in the mid-20th century. The idiom likely comes from the literal sense of a map, which is a visual representation of geographical locations. When something is described as "all over the map," it implies that it is scattered or covers a wide range of areas.

    The idiom has since been adopted into everyday language to describe not only geographical locations, but also ideas, topics, and actions. Its versatility and ease of use have contributed to its widespread adoption in English-speaking countries. Examples of the idiom "all over the map" can be found in various forms of media, literature, and everyday conversation.