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cover all the bases

English translation: To be cautious and cover all possibilities in a given situation or plan or endeavor.

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GLOSSARY ENTRY (DERIVED FROM QUESTION BELOW)
English term or phrase:cover all the bases
English translation:To be cautious and cover all possibilities in a given situation or plan or endeavor.
Entered by: Jenni Lukac
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14:46 Jul 20, 2009
English to English translations [PRO]
Art/Literary - Idioms / Maxims / Sayings
English term or phrase: cover all the bases
For American users.

I've found contradictory definitions and explanations of the roots for this idiom.
Comes from baseball, OK, but from which moment in baseball:
Free Dictionary
cover all the bases (American & Australian) also touch all the bases (American)
to deal with every part of a situation or activity It's a pretty full report. I think we've covered all the bases.
cover all the bases
to deal with every possibility Those movie awards cover all the bases - best villain, best fight, best kiss, best everything.
Both the above definitions from Cambridge dictionaries of American English
Then, sth else:
Cover all the bases (idea)
Return to Cover all the bases (idea)

An American idiom:
To be cautious and cover all possibilities in a given situation or plan or endeavor. To be aware of all consequences and be prepared for them as best as possible.

This phrase obviously has a baseball origin. It's a reference to the pitchers responsibility to make sure no one steals a base before his pitch. With bases loaded, he obviously has to keep an eye on all the bases.

the above from everything2.com, an American site as far as I can see

Another source:
The meaning of the english idiom Cover all the bases
If you cover all the bases, you deal with all aspects of a situation or issue, or anticipate all possibilities. (’Cover all bases’ is also used.)
I found a proposed Polish translation, and it's "protect oneself for all eventualities"
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stolen_base
Touching the bases or keeping an eye on opponents who try to steal a base?
Doing sth conscientiously now or preparing conscientiously for the future?
So I'm interested in both the origin and the meaning.

literary
literary
Local time: 16:23
To be cautious and cover all possibilities in a given situation or plan or endeavor. To be aware of
Explanation:
Of all the entries you found this is the best general meaning of the term. I apologize for American writers who don't realize that outside of the Americas and Japan baseball metaphors don't mean a thing!
Selected response from:

Jenni Lukac
Local time: 16:23
Grading comment
Thanks
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer



Summary of answers provided
5 +8To be cautious and cover all possibilities in a given situation or plan or endeavor. To be aware of
Jenni Lukac
5 +3leave nothing to chance
airmailrpl


Discussion entries: 6





  

Answers


39 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): +8
To be cautious and cover all possibilities in a given situation or plan or endeavor. To be aware of


Explanation:
Of all the entries you found this is the best general meaning of the term. I apologize for American writers who don't realize that outside of the Americas and Japan baseball metaphors don't mean a thing!

Jenni Lukac
Local time: 16:23
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 20
Grading comment
Thanks
Notes to answerer
Asker: "touch all the bases (American)" - meaning doing things one after another, in sequence, until sth is completed. Meanwhile the situation with a stolen base indicates being watchful above all.

Asker: But rather referring to the present or to the future?


Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Tony M: Yes, and I think this is one US idiom that actually has travelled quite well (even is the rest of us don't actually know where it comes from!); but I don't see anything at all contradictory in the definitions cited by Asker.
2 mins
  -> Cheers and Thanks Toni. "You are goal oriented and you never drop the ball!"

agree  Richard McDorman
49 mins
  -> Thanks Richard

agree  Polangmar
1 hr
  -> Thanks Polangmar

agree  Tina Vonhof: To asker: You prepare now for anything that may or may not happen in the future. The sequence is not important.
2 hrs
  -> Thanks Tina

agree  Jim Tucker: Interesting thing is that it's not really used in baseball. (Might mean that there's a fielder (defender) at every base; I doubt it means "touch all the bases" in a baseball context.)
3 hrs
  -> Thanks Jim. This phrase is somehow easier than the expression "to drop the ball" that makes no sensehere in Europe at all...

agree  Gary D
6 hrs
  -> Greetings and Thanks

agree  Demi Ebrite
7 hrs
  -> Greetings and Thanks

agree  George Colibaba
17 hrs
  -> Greetings and Thanks
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

38 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): +3
leave nothing to chance


Explanation:
cover all the bases => leave nothing to chance

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Note added at 19 hrs (2009-07-21 10:23:24 GMT)
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Idiom Definitions for 'Cover all the bases'
If you cover all the bases, you deal with all aspects of a situation or issue, or anticipate all possibilities. ('Cover all bases' is also used.)
http://www.usingenglish.com/reference/idioms/cover all the b...

cover all the bases (American & Australian) also touch all the bases (American)
to deal with every part of a situation or activity It's a pretty full report. I think we've covered all the bases.

Cambridge Idioms Dictionary, 2nd ed. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2006. Reproduced with permission.
cover all the bases
to deal with every possibility Those movie awards cover all the bases - best villain, best fight, best kiss, best everything.
http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/cover all the bases



airmailrpl
Brazil
Local time: 11:23
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish, Native in PortuguesePortuguese
PRO pts in category: 11

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Tony M: Yes, sometimes indicates a degree of prudence, or sometimes just thoroughness.
3 mins
  -> thank you

agree  Tina Vonhof
2 hrs
  -> thank you

agree  Jim Tucker
3 hrs
  -> thank you
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)




Voters for reclassification
as
PRO / non-PRO
Non-PRO (2): writeaway, Jim Tucker


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Changes made by editors
Jul 25, 2009 - Changes made by Jenni Lukac:
Edited KOG entry<a href="/profile/141091">literary's</a> old entry - "cover all the bases" » "To be cautious and cover all possibilities in a given situation or plan or endeavor. To be aware of "


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