to all intents and purposes

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Alternative forms[edit]


1500s, English law, originally “to all intents, constructions, and purposes” (found in an act adopted under Henry VIII in 1547).


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Prepositional phrase[edit]

to all intents and purposes

  1. (idiomatic, Britain) For every functional purpose; in every practical sense; in every important respect; practically speaking.
    To all intents and purposes the case is closed.
    This treaty is to all intents and purposes no longer viable.
    • 2011 December 19, Kerry Brown, “Kim Jong-il obituary”, in The Guardian[1]:
      With the arrival of the cold war, relations between the two countries (for this is, to all intents and purposes, what they became after the end of the war) were almost completely broken off, with whole families split for the ensuing decades, some for ever.