Is there an idiom that conveys the meaning of "one solution fitting all problems in all scenarios"?

What came into my mind were two phrases:

  1. silver bullet

  2. one size fits all

For the former, I thought it is more of the complexity of the problem than the scope, while for the later I thought it is better but concentrates more on size. In the Chinese world the phrase would be "放之四海而皆准", meaning that a rule or solution can apply to any situation worldwide.

Any more native expressions for that?

  • 1
    Do you have a specific example/scenario? And an example sentence? I think that would be helpful.
    – Em.
    Commented Nov 24, 2019 at 7:36
  • 2
    Universal panacea? Commented Nov 24, 2019 at 9:19
  • @MichaelHarvey That does exist! Thanks! I found two more phrases from its Wikipedia page: Snake oil and Quackery. Commented Nov 24, 2019 at 11:27
  • A universal panacea, if genuine, will solve every problem, but snake oil and quackery are always false or fraudulent offerings. Commented Nov 24, 2019 at 12:19

2 Answers 2


"Cure-all" works. "Panacea" is easily understood in educated speech (and note that adding "universal" in front is redundant).

However, "panacea" (as is the case with synonyms like "nostrum" (nostrum is much less common than panacea)) is often used in a negative way to suggest that no panacea exists (see notes and examples).

"One-size-fits-all" is informal. "Silver bullet", as you note, has a different nuance.

If you have a specific sentence or context in mind, that would be helpful.


The comments offer:

Universal panacea

Which directly fits what you're trying to communicate, but certainly isn't common.

I personally like the phrase:

Catch-all solution

You could also use something like:

Universal solution

Solution that is universally true

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .