Home » Segments » All Told

All Told

Play episode

To summarize something, we often use the phrase “all told.” But should it be “all tolled”? The correct phrase, “all told,” comes from an old use of the word tell meaning “to count,” as in a bank teller. All told is an example of an absolute construction — a phrase that, in other words, can’t be broken down and must be treated as a single entity. This is part of a complete episode.

Leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

More from this show

Catillate, Agelastic, and Latibulate

Inkhorn terms are bloated, fancy, show-off words formed by cramming Latin and Greek roots into English. The name references little bottles made from animal horn that 14th-century English scribes used to carry their ink. Lexicographer Henry...

All Out Are In Free!

Kylie Ryan, an elementary-school teacher in Seattle, Washington, remembers that when she played hide-and-seek as a child, the call for everyone to come in was alle alle oxen free. Are there other versions? Yes, and because these sayings were not...

Segments