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"I told everyone and their mother about how I won the contest."

"Everyone and their mother" meaning that I told many many people.

Would this be considered slang or just a figure of speech?

  • You would just use everyone which also includes their mothers. – 3kstc Aug 25 '17 at 6:02
  • It's both a slang expression and a use of hyperbole, which is a kind of figure of speech. – RaceYouAnytime Aug 25 '17 at 6:53
  • I think it would be interesting to ask about the origin of this expression. I don't see it listed in Green's Dictionary of Slang – RaceYouAnytime Aug 25 '17 at 6:55
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    The version I'm more familiar with, though it's now old-fashioned, is "all the world and his wife". – Kate Bunting Aug 25 '17 at 6:59
  • @RaceYouAnytime It's on Wiktionary, FreeDictionary and others. – TripeHound Aug 25 '17 at 9:36
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It's a figure of speech, the more traditional version being (as Kate Bunting has commented) '[All] the world and his wife'.

To use the sentence literally: "I told everyone and their mothers about how I won the contest." would suggest that you told all the other competitors, their mothers and anyone who stands still for long enough.

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