What does "when all's said and done" mean?

Does it have different meanings depending on the situation?

First Guess: it means "most importantly":

"When all's said and done, charity begins at home".

Second Guess: it means "on balance":

"When all's said and done, it is kind of a necessary evil".

Third Guess: it means "you know":

Person A: I don’t have enough cash on hand to pay the bills!

Person B: Not again! When all’s said and done, I think you’ll have to ask your mom for a loan.

Are my guesses correct on what it would mean?

  • 1
    It means what is says: After everything about the topic has been said and done.
    – Hot Licks
    Aug 29, 2017 at 2:53
  • What @HotLicks said. It means exactly what it says: after everything relevant has been said about X, and everything relevant has been done about X, ... Something close to it would be: after everything about X has been taken into consideration,...
    – Drew
    Aug 29, 2017 at 3:51

1 Answer 1


Regardless of the context, when used correctly, it means ultimately or when everything is taken into consideration, and it is usually followed by an important or decisive statement.


It's a generous offer, but when all is said and done, I have to choose the job that will be most beneficial for my family.

  • 1
    Yes. There are alternative idioms which serve a similar purpose - e.g. "At the end of the day..."
    – WS2
    Aug 29, 2017 at 7:31
  • +1. I agree, i was going to add 'At the end of the day' but i didn't want to potentially add any confusion since both can be used in the same sentence.
    – chornge
    Aug 29, 2017 at 7:40
  • 1
    It might also be helpful to let the OP know that their second guess is correct "when everything is taken into consideration" = "on balance".
    – AndyT
    Aug 29, 2017 at 10:14
  • 1
    "In the final analysis" is another.
    – Davo
    Aug 29, 2017 at 11:47

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