whole ball of wax

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(This etymology is missing or incomplete. Please add to it, or discuss it at the Etymology scriptorium.)


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whole ball of wax

  1. (idiomatic, slang) The entire or overall plan, concept or action.
    • 1975, Saul Bellow, Humboldt's Gift [Avon ed., 1976, p. 380]:
      Of course I have to take a little advantage. After all, I'm the guy who puts the thing together—the whole ball of wax.
    The whole ball of wax will be viewed in 5 minutes.
    In my opinion the whole ball of wax depends on what she'll say.
  2. (idiomatic, slang) Everything of a similar or related nature; everything necessary for a particular purpose.
    We've got pots, pans, the food and cooking utensils—the whole ball of wax.

See also[edit]

  • for a list of other "whole ___" terms that mean "everything / the whole thing", see the whole nine yards