All hands – Definition & Meaning

“All hands” is a phrase that is commonly used in the English language. It is a phrase that can be heard in various contexts, and it has different meanings depending on the situation. In this article, we will explore the different definitions and meanings of “all hands,” as well as its origin, associations, synonyms, and antonyms.


“All hands” is a phrase that is used to indicate that everyone is required to participate in a particular task or activity. It is a call to action, and it implies that everyone must be present and ready to work. In a nautical context, “all hands” is used to signal that all members of the crew are required to report to their stations.


The origin of the phrase “all hands” can be traced back to the nautical world. In the early days of sailing, ships were crewed by a large number of men who were required to work together to keep the vessel afloat. When a crisis arose, such as a storm or a battle, the captain would call out “all hands on deck” to signal that everyone was needed to help.

Meaning in different dictionaries

The phrase “all hands” is defined differently in various dictionaries. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, “all hands” means “everyone present.” The Oxford English Dictionary defines it as “all members of a crew or group of people.” The Cambridge Dictionary defines it as “everyone who is available or present.”


The phrase “all hands” is associated with teamwork, cooperation, and unity. It implies that everyone is needed to work together to achieve a common goal. In a nautical context, it is associated with the idea of a crew working together to keep a ship afloat.


Some synonyms of “all hands” include “everybody,” “everyone,” “all of us,” “the whole crew,” and “the entire team.”


The antonyms of “all hands” include “some,” “a few,” “not everyone,” “not all of us,” and “only a portion.”

The same root words

The phrase “all hands” does not have any root words as it is a phrase made up of two common English words.

Example Sentences

Here are some examples of how “all hands” can be used in different contexts:

  • “We need all hands on deck to finish this project on time.”
  • “All hands on board the ship were required to report to their stations during the storm.”
  • “The coach called for all hands to attend the team meeting.”
  • “In times of crisis, all hands are needed to work together to find a solution.”
  • “The company’s success is due to the hard work and dedication of all hands.”
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