a bit of all right: sexually attractive (and about things?)

susanna76

Senior Member
Romanian
Hi,

The Cambridge Idioms Dictionary, 2nd ed. (2006) gives the following for a bit of all right:
"If you describe someone as a bit of all right, you mean that they are sexually attractive. Cor! She's a bit of all right."

What if you describe a thing? I looked the phrase up on dictionary.com and found this:
(a) bit of all right, British. quite satisfactory (used as an understatement): The way he saved that child's life was a bit of all right.

But all over the Web it seems that "a bit of all right" is about someone being sexually attractive. So how do you use this phrase then?

Thank you!
 
  • Beryl from Northallerton

    Senior Member
    British English
    As you've discovered: mostly with regard to people's levels of desirability, and occasionally in reference to deeds, or objects, or anything else that you might construe as good. It's informal.
     

    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    So how do you use this phrase then?
    Short answer: I don't, unless very ironically. It's far too reminiscent (for me) of 1970s British sitcoms/films in which all the male characters suffered from chronic priapism and spent their whole lives chasing after girls who weren't in the least interested in relieving them.
     

    susanna76

    Senior Member
    Romanian
    How funny, ewie. It's so hard to get to know a language, so to speak, when you don't have access to much of its popular culture. I'm trying to follow references in chick lit books in that respect ha ha. But it's sad :). This forum helps a lot!!
    Thank you both!
     

    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    Well, don't forget, Susanna ~ everyone's opinions here are just opinions. I think you'd be fine using it in the more abstract sense given by dictionary.com ... but I personally wouldn't use it in that or the other sense.
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    I suppose I might use it humorously, susanna - but even then, only with the "sexually attractive" meaning....
     
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