all things to all men


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all things to all men

Liked or appreciated by everyone, usually through 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

all things to all men

 and all things to all people
Fig. [for someone or something] liked or used by all people; [for someone or something] everything that is wanted by all people. You simply can't be all things to all people. The candidate set out to be all things to all men and came off looking very wishy-washy.
See also: all, men, thing
References in periodicals archive ?
Mastercrafts BBC Two Wales, Friday, 9.30pm All things to all men, Monty Don has only just finished helping some nice people set up their dream farm over on Channel 4 before popping up on the Beeb to front this new show.
Those are three wildly different musical genres, and this band are trying to be the sort of all things to all men, or women, sort of catch-all rocky pop band.
Or is it the usual Etheridge tactic of attempting to be "all things to all men".
BEING all things to all men usually involves a whole lot of compromise, except when it's the superb Audi allroad, writes PAUL MYLES.
Dear Editor, - Barbara Bullock's commonsense article (Post, March 7) should be compulsory reading for every elected member, not least the socially and politically well connected that try to be 'all things to all men.'
Or has Alex Salmond - surely all things to all men - managed to soften Souter and brought out his sensitive side?
A pontiff does not attempt to be all things to all men and women.