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The common meaning of the phrase "all in all" has been covered on this site already, but what does it mean in the following usages?

The days when my mother and I and Peggotty were all in all to one another, and there was no one to come between us rose up before me so sorrowfully on the road...

(Dickens, David Copperfield, Ch. 8)

All in all is all we are / All in all is all we are / All in all is all we are ...

(Nirvana, All Apologies)

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The meaning here is equivalent to:

All for one and one for all

All the members of a group support each of the individual members, and the individual members pledge to support the group. -- Dictionary.com

Also:

The best known motto of the title characters in the book The Three Musketeers, by the nineteenth-century French author Alexandre Dumas.

Also see:

The Latin phrase: Unus pro omnibus, omnes pro uno

Unus pro omnibus, omnes pro uno is a Latin phrase that means:

"One for all, all for one" in English. -- Wikipedia

The Wikipedia article gives an example of usage:

"As they also absolutely intended to proceed with the execution against us...regardless of any loss of life and limb, honor and property, we would stand firm, with all for one and one for all..."

The basic meaning is that the members of the group are united, and stand together.

Which is reflected in the first example you cited:

...mother and I and Peggotty were all in all to one another and there was no one to come between us

Your second example, quoting a Nirvana song, takes the idea one step further:

All in all is all we are

With the addition of the idea that this union is all there is. Meaning that individually there could be no separate existence (said for poetic effect in the song).

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    David is recalling the time before his mother remarried, when he and she and their servant formed a close-knit family unit. – Kate Bunting Dec 29 '17 at 9:46
  • I agree with your interpretation of the meaning, but I'm not sure I see how it is derived from "All for one and one for all". Is this usage of "all in all" common? Are there any other examples? I don't have access to the OED but is there a citation for this etymology? – user234902 Dec 30 '17 at 17:31

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