She had gathered these things from time to time when she had gone to the Sunday-school with the children, and had laid them up in her memory more carefully than she had done with those other words and phrases; and she had studied them deeply, for her good and ours. One may see by this that she had a wise and thoughtful head, for all there was so much lightness and vanity in it. (Mark Twain, A Dog's Tale)

Does for here mean despite? and Does lightness here mean 'light-minded'?

1 Answer 1


"for all" can be used synonymously with despite. e.g.:

For all his boasting, he's really not all that talented

It's kind of an old phrasing of the expression, but I agree with your parsing. And I think this is more like the intended usage of lightness:

lack of seriousness and stability of character often accompanied by casual heedlessness

  • 1
    Yes, good example for for all. 'All' might be retained (Despite all his boasting, he hasn't really got much talent). In OP, for all (there was . . .) has to be replaced by despite the fact that (there was . . .) or the equivalent. Nov 30, 2013 at 8:18

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