the be-all and end-all


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(not) the be-all and end-all

The most important event or thing. Often used in the negative. 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.
See also: and

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
See also: and

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.
See also: and

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.
See also: and