Every nook and cranny

Every nook and cranny is an idiom that dates back to medieval times. An idiom is a word, group of words or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal definition. Often using descriptive imagery, common idioms are words and phrases used in the English language in order to convey a concise idea, and are often spoken or are considered informal or conversational. English idioms can illustrate emotion more quickly than a phrase that has a literal meaning, even when the etymology or origin of the idiomatic expression is lost. An idiom is a metaphorical figure of speech, and it is understood that it is not a use of literal language. Figures of speech have definitions and connotations that go beyond the literal meaning of the words. Mastery of the turn of phrase of an idiom or other parts of speech is essential for the English learner. Many English as a Second Language students do not understand idiomatic expressions that native speakers understand such as in a blue moon, spill the beans, let the cat out of the bag, chin up, eye to eye, barking up the wrong tree, hit the nail on the head, kick the bucket, under the weather, piece of cake, when pigs fly, and raining cats and dogs, as they attempt to translate them word for word, which yields only the literal meaning. In addition to learning vocabulary and grammar, one must understand the phrasing of the figurative language of idiomatic phrases in order to know English like a native speaker. We will examine the meaning of the idiom every nook and cranny, where it came from, and some examples of its use in sentences.

Every nook and cranny is an idiom that means everywhere, in all possible places, in every part and every area. The expression every nook and cranny is sometimes used to convey that something was done thoroughly or that someone understands something thoroughly. The idiom every nook and cranny has been in use since the 1400s. Here, nook means a tiny, hidden place. Cranny means a crevice or small crack.


Between nights of Cup of Noodles and days filled with any free food found in every nook and cranny on campus, we’re surviving. (The Daily Utah Chronicle)

“The university has known for a long time that our growing program is making use of every nook and cranny that we have and we’re grateful for it,” Richmond said. (The North Texas Daily)

Today it feels so much brighter and more positive, a breath of fresh air wafting through and brightening every nook and cranny, and I no longer feel the intense anger of the time, just an immense, unhealing bruise of sadness. (The Daily Mail)

Monitoring technology has worked its way into every nook and cranny of low-wage jobs, and the feeling that you always have somebody standing behind you with a stopwatch is really different. (Publishers WEekly)

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