“It’s All Relative” – Meaning, Origin & Usage (+ Examples)

Marcus Froland

Have you ever heard someone say “It’s all relative”? Understanding what this phrase means can help you use it accurately in conversation and know how to respond when people use it with you.

In this article, we’ll dive into the meaning, origin, and usage of ‘It’s All Relative,’ plus provide examples.

You’ll come away understanding how to apply this phrase in your everyday life.

Key Takeaways

  • Everything should be judged in comparison to something else.
  • There is no absolute truth.
  • One’s opinion or perspective can vary depending on their context.
  • Considering multiple perspectives before forming an opinion is encouraged.

What Does "It’s All Relative" Mean

You may have heard the phrase ‘it’s all relative’, but do you know what it means? Put simply, it is a way of saying that everything should be judged in comparison to something else. It implies that there is no absolute truth and that one’s opinion or perspective can vary depending on their context.

The phrase can also be used to suggest that whatever is being discussed is subjective or open to interpretation. For instance, someone may say ‘It’s all relative when it comes to taste’ when discussing the merits of different types of food. This indicates that each individual will find certain dishes more appealing than others based on their personal preferences.

Ultimately, this phrase encourages people to consider multiple perspectives before forming an opinion and emphasizes the importance of understanding context when making decisions or judgments.

Origin of "It’s All Relative"

Y’know, the phrase ‘It’s All Relative’ has been around for quite a while. It can be traced back to ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus of Ephesus in 500 BC. He was known for his belief that nothing is permanent and that everything is constantly changing.

This idea was later rephrased by English poet Alexander Pope in 1711 as, ‘All Nature is but Art, Unknown to thee; All Chance, Direction which thou canst not see’. In other words, what one person may consider good or bad depends on their own perspective.

The phrase wasn’t widely used until the mid-20th century when it became popularized as a way to express the relativity of situations and opinions.

Usage of "It’s All Relative"

Using the phrase ‘It’s All Relative’ is a great way to remind yourself that opinions and situations can be different from one another depending on perspective. It can be used in many different ways:

In Everyday Life:

  • To remind yourself that everyone has a different experience of life.
  • To encourage someone to look at an issue from a new angle.

In The Workplace:

  • To acknowledge that there are often multiple ways to solve a problem or reach an objective.
  • As a reminder not to impose your own opinion on others, but instead listen and understand their point of view.

It is important to remember when using this phrase that it doesn’t mean all points of view are equal, rather it encourages you think about how perspectives differ, as well as how they may overlap or influence each other.

Examples of "It’s All Relative"

Understanding the concept of ‘It’s All Relative’ can be applied in a variety of contexts.

For instance, when looking at a problem, it helps to keep in mind that all situations should be considered relative to other events and circumstances.

For example, if two people are discussing their salaries, one person may think their salary is low while the other may think theirs is high given their different perspectives. In this case, it’s important to remember that each individual isn’t comparing apples to apples; rather, they’re comparing oranges to bananas.

Similarly, when considering how much time has passed for a certain activity or task – such as waiting for an appointment – one person may find 30 minutes too long while another might find it too short; both would benefit from considering the situation relative to what else was happening during the same period of time.

Keeping this phrase in mind can help us stay mindful and considerate of our own unique perspectives and those around us.

"It’s All Relative" Takeaways

You can use the phrase ‘It’s All Relative’ to help you stay mindful and considerate of your own unique perspective as well as those around you.

By understanding that everyone has their own individual experiences, values, and beliefs, that shape their interpretation of any given situation, we can avoid making assumptions about others and accept that what may seem normal or logical to us is not necessarily so for everyone else.

Situations can be seen from multiple perspectives, each equally valid in its own right. Practicing this kind of understanding allows us to be more open-minded and tolerant in our interactions with others.


You’ve now seen that ‘it’s all relative’ is an expression used to emphasize the fact that things are never as simple or clear-cut as they may seem at first. It can be used to point out the subjectivity of opinions, ideas, and experiences.

The phrase has been around since the late 19th century and is still widely used today. Remember, it’s all relative—what matters most is your own opinion!