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What Does "All the Rage" Mean?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 07 November 2016
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"All the rage" is an example of idiomatic expressions that are used to express the current popularity of some sort of trend in entertainment, fashion, industry or even sales techniques. This type of English saying draws upon the concept of "rage" as a celebration rather than being a show of anger, indicating that the subject under consideration is enjoying a spectacular amount of popularity at the present time, appealing to a wide audience and considered to be on the cutting edge in some markets. When a product is considered all the rage for a period of time, sales are usually very high and involve purchases by consumers from across a number of markets.

One of the easiest ways to understand what occurs when something is all the rage is to consider a fashion style that has captured a lot of attention and fanfare during the current season. As a result of the high level of desirability for that garment, it is distributed far and wide to a number of outlets ranging from private showings in fashion houses to availability in discount clothing shops. For example, in the mid to latter part of the 1960s, the miniskirt was considered all the rage, with many designers creating ensembles that featured skirts that were a certain level above the knee. As the rage faded, consumers turned attention to other fashions such as the maxi and the midi-skirt, both of which were considered extremely fashionable for short periods in the early 1970s.

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In many settings, a product that is all the rage will only maintain its popularity for a short period of time. The duration of the rage may be a matter of weeks, months, or a few years. A new release by a popular musical entertainer may dominate the music charts for several weeks or months, being considered all the rage during that period, only to be considered stale and out of favor once other releases begin to sell more briskly. In like manner, a movie, a dance step, books, and even television shows may be all the rage for a short period of time until a fickle public moves on to the next new thing.

Marketers are all too aware that when a product becomes all the rage, the surge in sales and interest on the part of the public is likely to wane sooner rather than later. For that reason, marketing campaigns will seek to keep the wave of attention going for as long as possible in order to make the most profits from that product. Once that wave has subsided, the product may continue to appeal to a smaller market for a number of years, or it may cease production altogether, depending on the nature of the good that was involved in the temporary fad or rage.

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