For all intents and purposes


      • to all practical purposes
        To describe a situation or circumstance that is essentially the same as what is being discussed, even if it is not technically or legally the same

      • in all important respects
        To emphasize that something is essentially or fundamentally the same, even if there are minor differences or technicalities

      • almost completely
        To convey the idea that something is almost entirely true or accurate, with only a few minor exceptions or discrepancies

      • essentially or practically
        To indicate that something is functionally or effectively the same, even if there are slight variations or discrepancies

    Examples of For all intents and purposes

    • John has been applying for jobs every day for the past month, but as far as we can tell, he hasn't received any offers yet. For all intents and purposes, he's still unemployed.

      This idiom means that in practical terms or for all practical purposes, someone or something can be considered as having a certain quality or status. In this example, John's situation is being described as if he is still unemployed, even though technically his employment status could change at any time.Bite the bullet

    • The doctor told me that I needed surgery, and I knew it was going to be painful. But I steeled myself and bit the bullet.

      This idiom means to face a difficult or unpleasant situation with courage and determination, as if bracing oneself for a blow. In this example, the speaker is preparing themselves mentally to undergo a painful medical procedure.Break a leg

    • Before a play, actors often say "break a leg" to each other as a way of wishing them good luck. It's a strange expression, but it comes from the superstition that saying "good luck" is bad luck, so instead, people say something that's the opposite of what they want to happen.

      This idiom is a humorous way of wishing someone good luck, but it's actually a reversal of the traditional expression. In the past, people believed that saying "good luck" would actually bring bad luck, so instead, they would say something that was the opposite of what they wanted to happen, in the hope that the opposite would be true.Burn the midnight oil

    • I have a big exam tomorrow, and I've been burning the midnight oil, trying to cram as much information into my head as possible.

      This idiom means to study late into the night, often until the early hours of the morning. In this example, the speaker is staying up late to study for an important exam.Kick the bucket

    • My grandfather passed away peacefully in his sleep. It's a shame, but at least he didn't kick the bucket.

      This idiom is a somewhat morbid way of saying that someone has died. It comes from the image of a chicken hanging upside down by its feet, waiting to be slaughtered. The expression "kick the bucket" is thought to come from the idea that the chicken might accidentally kick over the wooden bucket that it's hanging from, causing it to fall and be killed. In this example, the speaker is expressing sympathy for the loss of their grandfather, but is also relieved that he died peacefully and didn't suffer.


    The idiom "for all intents and purposes" is commonly used to convey the idea that something is essentially or functionally the same, even if there are minor differences or technicalities. It can also be used to emphasize that a situation or circumstance is fundamentally the same, or to suggest that something is almost entirely true or accurate with only a few exceptions. This phrase is often used to simplify or summarize a complex or nuanced concept, making it easier to understand or discuss.

    Origin of "For all intents and purposes"

    The origin of this idiom is unclear, but it is believed to have originated in England in the 16th or 17th century. It is believed to have been derived from the phrase "to all intents, constructions, and purposes," which was commonly used in legal documents to describe the full scope and purpose of a particular action or decision. Over time, this phrase was shortened to "for all intents and purposes" and became a commonly used idiom in everyday language.

    Some speculate that the idiom may also have been influenced by the Latin phrase "propter omnia intents," meaning "for all intents," which was used in legal documents during the Roman Empire. However, there is no concrete evidence to support this theory.

    Today, the idiom "for all intents and purposes" is widely used in both formal and informal contexts, and is considered a standard phrase in the English language. Its versatility and simplicity make it a convenient way to express the idea of something being essentially or functionally the same.