The Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary's article for "all" contains the following example for the section "of all the..."

I've locked myself out. Of all the stupid things to do!

According to the article, the meaning of the expression "of all the..." is "to express anger".

I understand that the second sentence of the two cited above, since beginning with "of all the...", has the purpose to express anger about having locked theirselves out. But how the rest of this sentence ("stupid things to do") is connected to its beginning and to the first sentence? Is that a kind of an elliptical remark?

1 Answer 1


Yes. It suggests a completion :

Of all the stupid things to do, locking myself out is the most stupid thing.

The "obvious" continuation is omitted (ellipsis). "Of" here means "among"

The sentence is also hyperbolic (it uses exaggeration). Therefore it is both elliptic and hyperbolic [maths joke].

  • According to this schema, "of all the..." could be used to express admiration, too? Like "I've solved this riddle of the century. Of all the bright things to do!" Jan 27, 2018 at 9:56
  • @Min-SooPipefeet Perhaps... But it this pattern is usually expressing critisism "Of all the stupid/dumb/annoying/careless things"
    – James K
    Jan 28, 2018 at 18:45

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