For all the marbles

For all the marbles  is an idiom with an uncertain origin. We will examine the meaning of the common saying for all the marbles, where it came from, and some examples of its idiomatic usage in sentences.

For all the marbles means for complete victory or to earn or win all the prizes. For instance, a last-minute play in a sporting event that has a tied score may be said to be for all the marbles. The play will determine whether the player wins or loses. The idiom for all the marbles came into use in the latter-1800s and is derived from the childhood game of marbles. Children often played marble games that involved the victor keeping and owning captured marbles. In this type of marble game, a shot may be said to be for all the marbles.

Examples

But McGregor has tonight uploaded a lengthy caption on Instagram where he all-but confirms the two warriors will go at it for a third time for ‘all the marbles’. (The Sun)

Should either Snake River or American Falls win that Monday contest, a subsequent game will be played on Tuesday for all the marbles and a berth at the state tournament. (Bingham News Chronicle)

It ends with a game of HORSE—or rather HOOP—with Lillard pulling up from half-court for all the marbles. (Williamette Week)

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