Across the board

applying to all employees, members, groups, or categories; general:
The across-the-board pay increase means a raise for all employees.
(of a bet) covering all possibilities of winning on a given result, especially by placing a combination bet on one horse in a race for win, place, and show.
a piece of wood sawed thin, and of considerable length and breadth compared with the thickness.
a flat slab of wood or other material for some specific purpose:
a cutting board.
a sheet of wood, cardboard, paper, etc., with or without markings, for some special use, as a checkerboard or chessboard.

Theater. the stage:
The play will go on the boards next week.
the wooden fence surrounding the playing area of an ice-hockey rink.
a racing course made of wood, used especially in track meets held indoors:
his first time running on boards.

Bookbinding. stiff cardboard or other material covered with paper, cloth, or the like to form the covers for a book.
Building Trades. composition material made in large sheets, as plasterboard or corkboard.
a table, especially to serve food on.
daily meals, especially as provided for pay:
twenty dollars a day for room and board.
an official group of persons who direct or supervise some activity:
a board of directors.

the side of a ship.
one leg, or tack, of the course of a ship beating to windward.

Railroads. a fixed signal or permanent sign regulating traffic.
a flat surface, as a wall or an object of rectangular shape, on which something is posted, as notices or stock-market quotations:
a bulletin board.

Also called card, circuit board. a piece of fiberglass or other material upon which chips can be mounted to perform specific functions.
(def 2).

Electronics. (def 2).
a switchboard.

the area of a woolshed where shearing is done.
a crew of shearers working in a particular woolshed.
sheep about to be sheared.

Obsolete. the edge, border, or side of anything.
to cover or close with boards (often followed by up or over):
to board up a house; to board over a well.
to furnish with meals, or with meals and lodging, especially for pay:
They boarded him for $50 a week.
to go on board of or enter (a ship, train, etc.).
to allow on board:
We will be boarding passengers in approximately ten minutes.
to come up alongside (a ship), as to attack or to go on board:
The pirate ship boarded the clipper.
Obsolete. to approach; accost.
to take one’s meals, or be supplied with food and lodging at a fixed price:
Several of us board at the same rooming house.
Ice Hockey. to hit an opposing player with a .
across the board,

Racing. betting on a horse or dog to finish first, second, or third, so that any result where a selection wins, places, or shows enables the bettor to collect.
applying to or affecting every person, class, group, etc.

go by the board,

to go over the ship’s side.
to be destroyed, neglected, or forgotten:
All his devoted labor went by the board.

on board,

on or in a ship, plane, or other vehicle:
There were several movie stars on board traveling incognito.
Baseball. on base:
There were two men on board as the next batter came up.
present and functioning as a member of a team or organization.

Also, aboard.
on the boards, in the theatrical profession:
The family has been on the boards since grandfather’s time.
tread the boards. (def 22).
a long wide flat relatively thin piece of sawn timber

a smaller flat piece of rigid material for a specific purpose: ironing board
(in combination): breadboard, cheeseboard

a person’s food or meals, provided regularly for money or sometimes as payment for work done (esp in the phrases full board, board and lodging)
(archaic) a table, esp one used for eating at, and esp when laden with food

(sometimes functioning as pl) a group of people who officially administer a company, trust, etc: a board of directors
(as modifier): a board meeting

any other committee or council: a board of interviewers
(pl) the boards, the acting profession; the stage
short for blackboard, chessboard, notice board, printed circuit board, springboard, surfboard
stiff cardboard or similar material covered with paper, cloth, etc, used for the outside covers of a book
a flat thin rectangular sheet of composite material, such as plasterboard or chipboard
(mainly US)

a list on which stock-exchange securities and their prices are posted
(informal) the stock exchange itself


the side of a ship
the leg that a sailing vessel makes on a beat to windward

(Austral & NZ) the part of the floor of a sheep-shearing shed, esp a raised part, where the shearers work
(NZ) the killing floor of an abattoir or freezing works

any of various portable surfaces specially designed for indoor games such as chess, backgammon, etc
(as modifier): board games

a set of hands in duplicate bridge
a wooden or metal board containing four slots, or often nowadays, a plastic wallet, in which the four hands are placed so that the deal may be replayed with identical hands

the hull of a sailboard, usually made of plastic, to which the mast is jointed and on which a windsurfer stands
See above board
go by the board, to be in disuse, neglected, or lost: in these days courtesy goes by the board
on board, on or in a ship, boat, aeroplane, or other vehicle
sweep the board

(in gambling) to win all the cards or money
to win every event or prize in a contest

take on board, to accept (new ideas, situations, theories, etc)
to go aboard (a vessel, train, aircraft, or other vehicle)
(nautical) to come alongside (a vessel) before attacking or going aboard
to attack (a ship) by forcing one’s way aboard
(transitive; often foll by up, in, etc) to cover or shut with boards
(intransitive) to give or receive meals or meals and lodging in return for money or work
(sometimes foll by out) to receive or arrange for (someone, esp a child) to receive food and lodging away from home, usually in return for payment
(of salary increases, taxation cuts, etc) affecting all levels or classes equally
(horse racing) the US term for each way

Old English bord “a plank, flat surface,” from Proto-Germanic *burdam (cf. Old Norse borð “plank,” Dutch bord “board,” Gothic fotu-baurd “foot-stool,” German Brett “plank”), from PIE *bhrdh- “board,” from root *bherdh- “to cut.” See also board (n.2), with which this is so confused as practically to form one word (if indeed they were not the same word all along).

A board is thinner than a plank, and generally less than 2.5 inches thick. The transferred meaning “food” (late 14c.) is an extension of the late Old English sense of “table” (cf. boarder, boarding); hence, also, above board “honest, open” (1610s). A further extension is to “table where council is held” (1570s), then transferred to “leadership council, council (that meets at a table),” 1610s.

“side of ship,” Old English bord “border, rim, ship’s side,” from Proto-Germanic *bordaz (cf. Old Saxon bord, Dutch boord, German Bord, Old High German bart, Old Norse barð), perhaps from the same source as board (n.1), but not all sources accept this. Connected to border; see also starboard.

If not etymologically related to board (n.1), the two forms represented in English by these words were nonetheless confused at an early date in most Germanic languages, a situation made worse in English because this Germanic root also was adopted as Medieval Latin bordus (source of Italian and Spanish bordo). It also entered Old French as bort “beam, board, plank; side of a ship” (12c., Modern French bord), either from Medieval Latin or Frankish, and from thence it came over with the Normans to mingle with its native cousins. By now the senses are inextricably tangled. Some etymology dictionaries treat them as having been the same word all along.

verb senses derived from various senses of board (n.1) and board (n.2) include “come alongside” (a ship), mid-15c. (from n.2); “put boards on, frame with boards,” late 14c. (implied in boarded, from n.1); ” to get onto” (a ship), 1590s, transferred from mid-19c. to stages, railway cars, aircraft, etc. (from n.2). Meaning “to be supplied with food and lodging” is from 1550s (from n.1 in transferred sense). Transitive meaning “provide with daily meals and lodging” is from 1590s. Related: Boarded; boarding.

adjective phrase

Designating a bet in which the same amount of money is wagered on the horse to win, place, or show (Horse racing)
Designating an equal alteration to each member of a related set, esp an equal raising or lowering of related wages or salaries: They got an across-the-board increase of a dollar an hour

adverb phrase

: Marcus bet $2 across the board on Duck Giggle in the fifth
: The fees were lowered across the board

[fr the totalizator board that shows the odds at horse-racing tracks]


A ticket to a show or game; pasteboard (1950s+ Show business)
A rebound, the catching of a ball that bounces off the backboard or the basket: We did a heck of a job on Shaq. He had 10 boards (1990s+ Basketball)


: If we rebound, we’ve got a chance. If we don’t board, we can hang it up

Related Terms

across the board, idiot card, sandwich board, tote2
Applying to all the individuals in a group, as in They promised us an across-the-board tax cut, that is, one applying to all taxpayers, regardless of income. This expression comes from horse racing, where it refers to a bet that covers all possible ways of winning money on a race: win (first), place (second), or show (third). The board here is the notice-board on which the races and betting odds are listed. Its figurative use dates from the mid-1900s.

across the board
back to the drawing board
bed and board
bulletin board
by the board
go overboard
on board
open and aboveboard
room and board
stiff as a board
tread the boards


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