be all things to all men

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be all things to all men

To be liked or appreciated by everyone (usually after overt efforts to please them). The phrase likely originated in the Bible. I know you want your students to like you, but you have to discipline them when they misbehave. You can't be all things to all men. I don't trust that candidate—he is trying to be all things to all men and still hasn't committed to a clear course of action.
See also: all, men, thing

be all things to all men

If someone or something is trying to be all things to all men, they are trying to please everyone, and this is impossible. The film tries to be all things to all men — comedy, romance, fantasy, and satire. Note: You can also say that someone tries to be all things to all people. I realised I had a big problem. I wanted to be all things to all people. Note: This expression is used to show disapproval.
See also: all, men, thing