Meaning of the Idiom All Over the Place

Posted On: October 10, 2014

Meaning of Idiom: All Over the PlaceThe client told us that the meeting was “all over the place”. Is this a good thing? What is the meaning of the idiom “all over the place?”

Typically, this is not a compliment. When an American (or an English speaking Westerner) would say something is ‘all over the place’, they are communicating that they can’t find order, logical thought, or process in what is being done. To find out about what is wrong, it’s appropriate to ask indirect questions that blame you or your team for the miscommunication like:

  • Where can I fill in the blanks or read between the lines?
  • Is there something our team can explain differently?
  • What are we missing? Do you have suggestions to help us get back on track?

For more about this idiom, listen to Jennifer’s thoughts in the video tutorial below.


Did you know that there is a synonym to the idiom “all over the place”? The idiom “all over the map” has the same usage and meaning. If someone says, “You are all over the map with this idea…” it means you do not have a clear strategy and you are trying out too many paths without clear focus. 
Example of this idiom in the context of a sentence: 


“Some ideas sounded good, but they were all over the map—community projects, promotion ideas, requests for Olympic athlete appearances, Olympic pins, and creating Coca-Cola Olympic merchandise.”  (source: Marketing in the Digital Age, by Eric Schulz)


Jennifer helps your India based teams in the software industry communicate with more clarity and purpose with US clients. We do this through helping you drive your meetings from before the meeting invite to followup, so that with each interaction your team is clearer in it’s approach which builds a more trusting relationship with your US counterpart. Jennifer can help you get started today!

Related posts:
Saying no to a meeting request
More than 30 idioms, phrases and slangs used by native English speakers
Ways to build confidence and trust with Americans 


Thinking question vector created by upklyak –


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