British military origin. In Armed Forces terms, this formal order is a specific command sometimes issued in a case where the strategic situation has become hopeless, the collapse of a force is imminent, and there is no chance of relief. Once given, the order suspends certain aspects of military discipline, allowing each individual to surrender, flee, or continue fighting independently according to their individual circumstances, without regard to previous battle orders. It also means that the parent force is declaring itself free of any duty to continue to provide further supplies, medical aid or tactical support for the forces who receive this order.
While troops may be freed from the requirements of normal battle discipline, they are still obligated not to engage in treasonous conduct, cross over to aid the enemy, or act with disgrace while a Prisoner of War.
Note: The United States military does not currently use this order, however it was occasionally employed by both sides in the American Civil War if a unit lost all cohesion due to being overwhelmed in close-quarter fighting.
The battalion was down to only a dozen surviving troops, and with the enemy closing in, the order was given: "Every Man for Himself!"
by MGWCalgary January 3, 2018
Get the Every Man for Himself mug.
If it's every man for himself, then people are trying to save themselves from a difficult situation without trying to help anyone else.
Mulholland: Fall back! Fall back, men! Every man for himself!

Captain Edward J. Smith of the R.M.S. Titanic said to the Morse Code operators "It's Every man for himself."
by Jedi_Master June 17, 2008
Get the Every man for himself mug.