be all things to all people(redirected from were all things to all people)
be all things to all people
To be liked or appreciated by everyone, usually through overt efforts to please them. 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 people. I don't trust that candidate—he is trying to be all things to all people and still hasn't committed to a clear course of action.
all things to all people, be
Satisfy everyone completely, as in The trouble with the governor's campaign is that she is trying to be all things to all people . This proverbial expression is sometimes phrased be all things to all men, but today men is often replaced by people to avoid gender discrimination. The expression originated in Paul's statement (I Corinthians 9:22): "I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some." Today it often appears in a political context, but phrased negatively, as in He wants to be a good school committee member, but he can't be all things to all people.