In official announcements I often hear the phrase "at all times" like in:

  • Please, keep your seat belts fastened at all times during the flight.

I was looking at ways I can use it and dictionaries say that it means "always" or "continuously", I was looking at examples Longman gave and couldn't understand how "at all times" could mean either of those in these sentences:

  • He measured CO2 at all times of the day and night. (Here it should mean within)
  • Neighbours say the animals bark incessantly at all times of the day and night. (Here it should mean throughout)
  • To help other people at all times. (Here it should mean constantly)
  • Now she had to consider another person's wishes at all times. (Here it should be everytime)

"At all times" is used in several different ways. For the seat belt example, it means always or continuously ("all" is used literally). But it's also used figuratively.

Taking measurements at all times could mean that he defined measurement periods at times throughout the day and night so that all of the day and night were well represented.

An animal barking at all times has a meaning more of "random times throughout".

To help others at all times has a meaning like "to help any time the need arises".

Consider another person's wishes at all times could mean "everytime", as you suggest, or "whenever the need arises" (everytime is similar but has a nuance of focusing more on consistency).

  • So the definitions of "at all times" in the dictionaries are incomplete? There are many more ways in which it can be used? May 30 '17 at 9:26
  • 1
    @SovereignSun, it may be more a question of people using the definitions loosely or figuratively, and other people understand what they mean from the context. A common form of emphasis is a kind of exaggeration from misapplying a phrase figuratively. For example using "a million bucks" to mean a large amount of money, or even feeling good (I feel like a million bucks.) "At all times" is used like that. You might even find these kinds of figurative uses in some dictionaries.
    – fixer1234
    May 30 '17 at 9:39

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