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I thought I had learned the word for everywhere some time ago—всюду. But this morning I ran across везде, which got me looking around, and so I also found повсюду and повсеместно.

What, if anything, are the distinctions in meaning among these words?

Also, are they all used fairly frequently, or are some of them uncommon in typical communication?

(I did also see куда ни кинь, but that one seems pretty easy to think of as wherever you look. So I get that distinction.)

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Везде is the neutral word.

Всюду is just a bit archaic-sounding, but is otherwise equivalent.

Повсюду also answers “куда?” (in addition to “где?”), so with words like “разлететься” you can use повсюду but not the other synonyms mentioned.

Повсеместно literally means “in all places”, is somewhat formal and might feel a bit more figurative than literal (like “in most places, those that really matter”).

But in general these are near-perfect synonyms.

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  • Thank you, that's a perfect answer. I'm a little surprised, though, that only повсюду (and not всюду) can be used to answer "куда?" – spoko Mar 6 '18 at 16:26
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    @spoko разлетаться всюду would have an unertone of several identical events happening at different places independently, and not one event spreading out to several places from a single source – Баян Купи-ка Mar 6 '18 at 16:47
  • @БаянКупи-ка That's intriguing. :) I wonder if I understand why: Is it because the по- gives a sense of directionality, so that the spreading would seem to come from a single source? – spoko Mar 6 '18 at 17:02
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    @spoko often verbs of spreading motion are accompanied with the preposition по, разъехаться по стране, рассредоточиться по полю, растекаться по земле, разбегаться по углам, so this might be where it comes from, and i believe originally повсюду was two words по всюду, because it conforms to the same case paradigm as the above mentioned по стране, по полю – Баян Купи-ка Mar 6 '18 at 19:15
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I believe the words (по-)всюду, повсеместно and везде are completely interchangeable in respect to their meaning.
Despite that the words всюду, повсюду, повсеместно are a bit less frequently used nowadays, they don't sound ancient or too bookish. You can use them freely.

Side note. The word повсеместно derived from the word повсеместный (ubiquitous).

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  • Side note. The word повсеместно derived from the word повсеместный (ubiquitous). Makes sense. Actually, all four of these words are pretty easy to parse, etymologically. But повсеместно especially -- it pretty much breaks apart into the phrase "in all places." – spoko Mar 6 '18 at 16:28

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