“As All Get-Out” – Meaning & Origin (Helpful Examples)

Different countries tend to have different sayings and words that don’t always translate across to other countries. “As all get-out” is one of those phrases that is well-known in certain English countries but unheard of in others. This article will explore its meaning.

What Does “As All Get-Out” Mean?

“As all get-out” means that something is happening to the utmost degree. It is a superlative phrase that shows that something cannot do better or go harder because it is already at the best possible place for itself. It cannot perform anything better than what it already is.

as all get out meaning origin examples

The definition of “all get-out,” according to The Merriam-Webster Dictionary, is “the utmost conceivable degree – used in comparisons to suggest something superlative.”

It is very common in American English, though it’s rare to see it used outside of that. You’ll often find it used when someone is comparing someone or something to another thing and determining which is the “utmost” in value.

What Is The Origin Of “As All Get-Out”?

“As all get-out” comes from the original phrase “all git-out.” The phrase was first made popular in the 19th century. Specifically, it was in 1854 in Easy Nat: Or, The Three Apprentices by Alexander Stimson. “Git-out” was the original way of writing “get-out” in that century.

According to Google Ngram Viewer, “as all get-out” became a popular phrase in the 1930s. It has only grown since then, making it a very popular choice in the modern world. It’s clear that before the 1930s, “as all git-out” was the more popular choice.

as all get out english usage

We know that “as all get-out” come from “as all git-out,” but it has been used a few more times in history since then.

Huckleberry Finn, 1884

Huckleberry Finn is perhaps one of the most famous books in the world. It used the term within a sentence that started to see “all get-out” used as a simile to compare two things with each other.

The specific term came in this sentence:

  • “We got to dig in like all git-out.”

American Dialect Dictionary, 1944

If you skip forward sixty years, you’ll be able to learn more about the phrase from the American Dialect Dictionary. It was written by Harold Wentworth, and it focused on the idiom “all get-out.”

Since it was a dictionary, Wentworth was able to give the first meaningful definition of “all get-out.” It meant “to an extreme degree,” which showed that it was used as a superlative idiom to compare two things and show which was greater.

You’ll also notice that the hyphen in “get-out” is still prominent here. It’s still used in this way because it was originally written as “git-out” (where the hyphen is also included).

We’ll explain more about why the hyphen is important later. For now, all you need to know is that there is still a hyphen in “get-out.”

Examples Of How To Use “As All Get-Out” In A Sentence

If you want to know how to use “as all get-out” in a sentence, you can refer to these examples:

  1. You are cute as all get-out; I’ll give you that much. I wish I could get to know you a bit better.
  2. He is nervous as all get-out right now. I’m worried that he’s not going to be able to figure this one out in time.
  3. It’s raining as all get out. I didn’t pack for this kind of weather. I hope it dies down soon. Otherwise, I’m in trouble.
  4. You’re annoying as all get out, man! Can you stop asking me about these stupid things! I don’t want to hear it.
  5. I’m tired as all get out. I genuinely cannot wait to get home and sleep. That would be amazing.
  6. She’s grumpy as all get out. I’d leave her alone if I were you. I don’t think she’s all that interested in hearing what you have to say.
  7. I thought they were lazy as all get out. It’s no wonder they’re not interested in doing any of that stuff.

Some of the examples included the hyphen, while others did not. The hyphen in “get-out” is not necessary. It is something that people choose to add because it sticks to the original rules (if you follow the origins). Hyphens today have more specific rules, which “get out” no longer follows.

Is “As All Get-Out” An American English Expression?

“As all get-out” is an American English expression. It developed over time in America because of how close the origins were to American history. If you want to be specific, it is mostly concentrated in Southern states in America, making it a very specific idiom.

Most people outside of southern USA states won’t know what “as all get out” means. It’s best not to use it if you’re talking to anyone outside of those states.

Is It “As All Get Out” or “As All Get-Out”?

You do not have to include the hyphen between “get” and “out.” Both “as all get out” and “as all get-out” are correct. If you’re following standard rules (i.e. AP Style rules or other formal English rules), you’ll want to remove the hyphen because “get-out” is not a compound adjective.

  • It’s storming as all get out right now. I don’t think it’s safe for you to go out there.
  • She’s working as all get-out lately. I wish she would put some time aside for me.

According to Google Ngram Viewer, “as all get out” and “as all get-out” are almost identical in usage. The hyphenated form used to be slightly more popular, but both of them are able to be used.

as all get out or as all get-out

“Get-out” follows the traditional rules of the idiom. It was originally hyphenated, which is why some people like to stick to that today.

Hyphen rules have changed a lot since the 19th century, though. Now, they are used to link two or more words together when they modify something in a sentence. Since “get out” does not do this, there’s no need to hyphenate it.

“As All Get-Out” – Synonyms

  • To the highest degree
  • To the utmost degree
  • Excessively
  • To the greatest degree
  • To the highest point