Across the Board

Meaning of “Across the Board”

The phrase “across the board” means including all the classes or races. It also means affecting or impacting all the people at every level without exception. In some cases, it also means involving all type of people.

Origin of “Across the Board”

It is stated that the word was used for the first time in America in the Atlanta Constitution in November 1901. It goes thus: “Cousin Jess won the steeplechase after a hard drive in the stretch, lowering the best previous time of 4 09 by seven seconds. Dr. Einus, in the fourth race, a 100 to 1 shot, heavily played across the board, ran second.”

However, there is another idea that it has developed from the Anglo-French word ‘an cross’ that means ‘on cross.’ It was used around 1750, but the phrase “across the board” does not seem to have originated from it. It is stated that it has originated from horse racing, means to bet the equal amount of money on a horse if that wins. It seems to have happened in or during 1945.

Examples in Literature

Example #1

The Saboteur by Charles Miler from Civil War Stories and Anecdotes

“At Jos & His Bros Country Store, five neighbors state in the dilapidated proch chairs to while away the sunny morning. Two of the twonsmen were discussing the alfalfa browning after a very hot summer, another read the Sargum Canyon Daily, while the last two townsmen sate opposite each other at the checker board.

“Do y know, y ougot to jumprne.” He reached across the board and agitated his opponent’s red checker with sharp, strong fingers.”

This paragraph has been taken from the story “The Saboteur” by Charles Miler. The phrase “across the board” has been used in this paragraph as an equal level to the person who is sitting there. The author is narrating how townsmen are sitting. The person reaches “across the board” which means that he reaches to the persons sitting there are equally important and at the same level, as they are sat in front of them.

Example #2

A Venice Ghost Story by Nancy Spavento

“As a dewy-eyed newlywed I had moved to the town my husband, Giovanni, came from, none other than the romantic city of Venice. Here I began a brand-new life, gradually easing myself into the social scene thanks to my work as an English teacher which led me to mix with Venetians from all ranks of life and social class, right across the board from talented glassworkers to pastry cooks, stevedores, and professors of medicine. It was exhilarating working difference ways to communicate with such a range of people and it opened many new doors for me. My life quickly became a whirl of thrilling engagement s as the legendary Italian hospitality became reality and my husband and I were “guests of honour” at many a dinner in a Venetian palazzo.”

This paragraph has been taken from a ghost story by an Italian author. The use of the phrase in this paragraph is given in italics. The narrator, a lady, states how she has moved to Venice with her husband and started teaching English to all sorts of people. Here the phrase “across the board” has been used for people from all types of classes, races, and professions as she is teaching all of them at the same time.

Examples in Sentences as Literary Devices

Example #1: “He has treated all and sundry like across-the-board dealings leaving none.” In this sentence, the phrase has been used as a simile as it has been compared with another phrase almost having similar meanings. The word of comparison “like” shows that it is a simile.

Example #2: “Across-the-board treatment of all ensures stability in a social fabric.” Here the phrase has been transformed into a compound word using hyphens. This means equal or similar treatment. It is also a metaphor.

Example #3: “His across the board spinach discovery led to a scientific revolution in botanical growth.” This is a piece of academic writing as its tone is quite formal. Therefore, two literary devices have been shown by this sentence.

Example #4: “A budget deficit may lead to across the board cutting in military spending.” This sentence has used a formal tone. The use of this phrase has ensured this tone.

Example #5: The CEO said the new work rules would apply across the board, irrespective of their positions and shift timings.