every man for himself, and devil take the hindmost

The two earliest examples are more closely aligned in form to the following proverb (every man for himself, and God for us all). See also devil take the hindmost.

1530 A. BARCLAY Eclogues (EETS) I. 1009 Eche man for him selfe, and the fiende for all.

1573 J. SANFORDE 108v Euery man for him selfe; and the Deuill for all.

1858 D. M. MULOCK Women’s Thoughts about Women ii. The world is hard enough, for two-thirds of it are struggling for the dear life—‘each for himself, and de’il tak the hindmost.’

1939 L. I. WILDER By Shores of Silver Lake xxv. There wasn’t any standing in line... It was each fellow for himself and devil take the hindmost.

2001 Spectator 24 Nov. 29 One senses that..Tories are hostile to that extra refinement of civilisation: it’s every man for himself, and devil take the hindmost. Remember what Mrs Thatcher said about not helping ‘lame ducks’..?


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  • every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost — ► every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost proverb everyone should (or does) look after their own interests rather than considering those of others. Main Entry: ↑man …   English terms dictionary

  • devil take the hindmost — A shortened version of every man for himself, and devil take the hindmost. A Latin version of this sentiment is HORACE Ars Poetica 417 occupet extremum scabies, may the itch take the one who is last. 1620 BEAUMONT & FLETCHER Philaster V. i. What… …   Proverbs new dictionary

  • every man for himself — See also the later expanded forms in the next two proverbs (every man for himself, and devil take the hindmost, every man for himself, and God for us all). c 1386 CHAUCER Knight’s Tale 1.1182 At the kynges court, my brother, Ech man for hymself,… …   Proverbs new dictionary

  • devil — see the devil can quote Scripture for his own ends the devil finds work for idle hands to do why should the devil have all the best tunes? the devil is in the details the devil is not so black as he is painted the devil lo …   Proverbs new dictionary

  • man — see man cannot live by bread alone whatever man has done, man may do a man is as old as he feels, and a woman as old as she looks man is the measure of all things man proposes, God disposes man’s extremity is …   Proverbs new dictionary

  • every — see every little helps every man for himself every man for himself, and devil take the hindmost every man for himself, and God for us all every man has his price every man is the architect of his own fortune …   Proverbs new dictionary

  • hindmost — see devil take the hindmost every man for himself, and devil take the hindmost …   Proverbs new dictionary

  • man — ► NOUN (pl. men) 1) an adult human male. 2) a male member of a workforce, team, etc. 3) a husband or lover. 4) a person. 5) human beings in general. 6) a figure or token used in a board game …   English terms dictionary

  • Oxford Dictionary of Proverbs, Thematic Index — absence absence makes the heart grow fonder he who is absent is always in the wrong the best of friends must part blue are the hills that are far away distance lends enchantment to the view out of sight, out of mind …   Proverbs new dictionary

  • National Recovery Administration — NRA Blue Eagle poster. This would be displayed in store windows, on packages, and in ads. The National Recovery Administration (NRA) was the primary New Deal agency established by U.S. president Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) in 1933. The goal was… …   Wikipedia

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