Every man for himself

Each individual puts his or her own interests foremost. For example, In this company no one helps anyone—it’s every man for himself. In Chaucer’s day this dictum was stated approvingly, meaning “if you don’t look out for yourself, no one else will,” but today such selfishness is usually censured. Despite the wording, the term applies to either sex.


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  • Every man has his price

    Any person can be bribed in some way, as in They had trouble persuading her to join, but when they offered her a car—well, every man has his price. This cynical observation was first recorded in 1734 but may be much older, and it applies to either sex.

  • Every minute counts

    Also, every moment counts. Time is of the essence. For example, Hurry up with those tools—every minute counts, or In performing surgery every moment counts. This idiom uses count in the sense of “to enter into the reckoning” (and hence be important).

  • Every nook and cranny

    see: nook and cranny

  • Everyone

    [ev-ree-wuhn, -wuh n] /ˈɛv riˌwʌn, -wən/ pronoun 1. every person; everybody. /ˈɛvrɪˌwʌn; -wən/ pronoun 1. every person; everybody n. c.1200, from every + one. see entries under every man.

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