be-all and end-all

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be-all and end-all (plural be-alls and end-alls)

  1. (idiomatic) Something considered to be of the utmost importance; something essential or ultimate.
    He thought that cars were the be-all and end-all of life.
    Profit is the be-all and end-all of business.
    • a. 1606, Shakespeare, William, Macbeth, act 1, scene 7, lines 4–5:
      That but this blow / Might be the be-all and the end-all!
    • 2014 September 23, A teacher, “Choosing a primary school: a teacher's guide for parents”, in The Guardian[1]:
      The compulsory tests in reading, writing and maths at the end of years 2 and 6 are often mistakenly seen as the be-all and end-all of a child's chances in life, and the quality of their school.


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