Imagine you're writing a literature book in English and you want to mention something like the following,

I wanted to crush all the pepper in one go, so I used a bigger tool and crushed all of them at once.

I feel like it's not very formal in academia, so what would be a formal word for in one go?

(I don't care if my sentence is not grammatically correct, so don't worry about it, I just need a formal synonym.)

  • I wanted to crush the pepper quickly... etc, instead of a word that works, make the sentence work for you.
    – Sam
    Commented Sep 26, 2023 at 22:23

7 Answers 7


I commented earlier to this effect, but was asked to put that into an answer. So ...

I would say that all at once fits the bill here rather nicely.

You almost came to it yourself when you said "crushed all of them at once"—but using that together with "in one go" is superfluous at that point. One or the other, but not both.


You could say 'at one fell swoop'.

Bit of a cliché, though, and you should avoid clichés like the plague.


I suggest (from Lexico)


An effort to achieve or complete a difficult task or action.

The question mentions 'formal' and 'academia' so I presume it's not entirely about cookery, though I could offer

Jan flipped the pancake at the first attempt.


You’ve already found your synonym (all at once), and the OED has your back. It even uses in one go to define it:

all, adj., pron., and n., adv., and conj.
a. all at once.
(a) With everything happening in one go or simultaneously; at one and the same time; all together.
Source: Oxford English Dictionary (login required)

Here are some selected usage examples given:

1588   W. KEMPE Educ. Children sig. F2v   A sillable of eight letters, being too hard for a childe to learne all at once, he may learne letter by letter.

1662   R. MATHEWS Unlearned Alchymist (new ed.) §82. 109   She..popt it into her mouth, and swallowed it all at once.

1706   Phillips’s New World of Words (new ed.) at Orgues   Several Musket-Barrels set in a row within one wooden Stock, to be discharged either all at once, or separately.

1930   Lancet 27 Sept. 686/2   The recently prepared solution is warmed to body heat and may be quite safely injected all at once provided it is injected slowly.

1995   Daily Mirror 23 Feb. 6/4   Transfer of other powers to the new Assembly likely to be phased in rather than introduced all at once.


I wanted to crush the pepper all at once, so I used a bigger tool.


I wanted to crush all the pepper in one batch, so I used a bigger tool and crushed all of it at once.

batch (n.)

The quantity of material prepared or required for one operation m-w

I've changed them to it, since you refer to pepper. If you are talking about black pepper, you could also say:

I wanted to crush all the pepper corns in one batch, so I used a bigger tool and crushed all of them at once.

  • 1
    In cooking, one usually does not encounter black pepper in batches.
    – Lambie
    Commented Jan 27, 2022 at 15:37
  • True, but we're not talking about the quantity purchased or called for in a recipe--the OP has a few containers'/measures' worth that they want to process in a single batch.
    – DjinTonic
    Commented Jan 27, 2022 at 16:19
  • Containers' worth? For pepper? Black pepper is not processed, it is crushed/ground up, in cooking. Why not admit defeat?
    – Lambie
    Commented Jan 27, 2022 at 16:27
  • When I buy black pepper corns, they are in a glass spice container/small jar and I use it to fill a pepper mill. Evidently the OP is crushing their own pepper--what do you want from me??
    – DjinTonic
    Commented Jan 27, 2022 at 16:28
  • Actually, pepper corns are ground up (aka "crushing") and they cannot be ground up "at one go" so the question and answers make zero sense.
    – Lambie
    Commented Jan 27, 2022 at 16:30

"with one whack" comes to mind.

  • "I wanted to crush all the pepper with one whack, so I used a bigger tool."
  • a smart or resounding blow MW
  • a sharp, swift blow TFD

...tried to split the log with one whack.

...and killed the snake with one whack.

  • 2
    That sounds even more informal to me! Commented Jan 27, 2022 at 16:10
  • 1
    I don't think one whacks pepper. It would go all over the place. You can whack a steak to flatten it, or pork, but not pepper.
    – Lambie
    Commented Jan 27, 2022 at 16:23

You could use at a [single] stroke etc:

at one stroke {also, at one blow; at a stroke or blow; in one stroke or blow}

At the same time, with one forceful or quick action.

[The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.]

Although usually used metaphorically nowadays, literal examples do exist:

  • Somerset is said to have gone straight up to the unsuspecting Wenlock and at a stroke felled him with his poleaxe.

[A Companion and Guide to the Wars of the Roses By Peter Bramley]

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