Reference > Brewer’s Dictionary > All to break (Judges ix. 53).

 All this for a Song!All waters (I am for). 
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E. Cobham Brewer 1810–1897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
 
All to break (Judges ix. 53).
 
“A certain woman cast a piece of millstone upon Abimelech’s head, and all to brake his skull” does not mean for the sake of breaking his skull, but that she wholly smashed his skull. A spurious form, owing its existence to a typographical mistake. The to really belongs to the verb; and in the last passage quoted it should be read “all to-brake.” The to is a Teutonic particle, meaning asunder, in pieces. It is very common in Old English, where we have “To-bite,” i.e. bite in pieces, tocleave, to-rend, to-tear. All is the adverb = entirely, wholly. So “all to bebattered” = wholly battered to pieces. All-to-frozen. Here to-frozen is intensitive. So in Latin dis-crucior = valde crucior. Plautus (in his Menœchmi, ii. line 24) uses the phrase “dis-caveas malo,” i.e. be fully on your guard, etc., be very much beware of.   1
        Gothic, dis; O. N., tor; Old High German, zar; Latin, dis; Greek, de.
        “Mercutio’s icy hand had all-to-frozen mine” i.e. wholly frozen up mine).—Romeo and Juliet (1362).
        “Her wings were al-to-ruffled and sometimes impaired.”—Milton: Comus.
 


 All this for a Song!All waters (I am for). 

 
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