the world and his wife
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- (hyperbolic, chiefly Britain, Australia) Everyone; a great crowd; a jumbled assortment of people.
- The world and his wife were at the opening – we could barely move.
- 1957 July 4, General Secretary, The Textile Institute, A Guide to Careers: No. 32: Textile Technology, New Scientist, page 42,
- The world and his wife are the customers for whom the textile industry supplies the greatest necessity next to food, and some of the greatest luxuries.
- 1986 April, Jessica Berens, Scots on the Rocks, Spin, page 29,
- The punk explosion of 1977 prompted the world and his wife to pick up guitars, just as they had grabbed washboards in the skiffle era 20 years before.
- 1972 (1905), Natsume Sōseki, Aiko Ito, Graeme Wilson (translators), I Am a Cat (吾輩は猫である), Volume 2, 2002, combined edition, page 187,
- “ […] But they have to consider what the world and his wife will say, and when dealing with the world one simply cannot be too careful.”
- 1998, Kasey Michaels, Indiscreet, 2000, page 229,
- “Why not just hire a crier to go around the city, telling all the world and his wife — all the world and our wives — we had our turns riding Connie to hounds?”
- 2001, advertisement, quoted in 2001, Guy Cook, The Discourse of Advertising, page 112,
- Gripping stuff, Subaru four-wheel drive. The world and his wife′s favourite in fact.
- See also Thesaurus:everybody.
- Cambridge Idioms Dictionary, 2nd ed., Cambridge University Press, 2006