(not) the be-all and end-all

(not) the be-all and end-all

(Not) the most important event or thing. My little sister thinks that a date with the captain of the football team is just the be-all and end-all of her life right now. Oh honey, I know you're disappointed, but failing the driver's license test is not the be-all and end-all. You'll just practice some more and then take it again.
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Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

be-all and end-all

Cliché something that is the very best or most important; something so good that it will end the search for something better. Finishing the building of his boat became the be-all and end-all of Roger's existence. Sally is the be-all and the end-all of Don's life.
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McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

be-all and end-all, the

The most important element or purpose, as in Buying a house became the be-all and end-all for the newlyweds. Shakespeare used this idiom in Macbeth (1:6), where Macbeth muses that "this blow might be the be-all and the end-all" for his replacing Duncan as king. [Late 1500s]
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The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

not the be-all and end-all

COMMON If something is not the be-all and end-all, it is not the only important thing in a particular situation. Results are not the be-all and end-all of education. My career is important, but it's not the be-all and end-all.
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Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

the be-all and end-all

a feature of an activity or a way of life that is of greater importance than any other. informal
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Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

the ˌbe-all and ˈend-all (of something)

(informal) the most important thing/person; the only thing/person that matters: His girlfriend is the be-all and end-all of his existence.I’ll never be rich, but money isn’t the be-all and end-all, you know.
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Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

be-all and end-all, the

The ultimate purpose, the most important concern. An early and famous use of this term is in Shakespeare’s Macbeth (1.6), in which the ambitious Macbeth soliloquizes about assassinating Duncan so as to become king: “. . . that but this blow [the murder] might be the be-all and the end-all here.” Eric Partridge held it was a cliché by the nineteenth century, but it is heard less often today.
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The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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