What does the idiom "in the long run" mean?

Are you using the idiom in the long run but not sure about its meaning? Using idioms, which are important elements of spoken and written language, in the right place strengthens your language skills. Examine the meaning of the in the long run idiom and the situations in which it is used.

Meaning of "in the long run"

Meaning

The idiom 'in the long run' is used to mean a time in the future, often after a period of uncertainty or difficulty, when many of the current issues, problems, or difficulties will have been resolved. It refers to the idea that most things that happen in the short-term will, in the long-term, be insignificant. In other words, it is a way of saying that the present situation is not permanent and that better or different times are coming. It is often used to express optimism, as it implies that resolutions will be achieved eventually.

Etymology

The origin of 'in the long run' is unclear, however, it is thought to have first been used in the late 1800s. It is derived from the phrase "in the long run of time," which was used to describe a more extended, future period of time. The phrase was likely originally used in the context of investments, where it was understood to be the point at which profits could be made. Over time, the phrase has come to be used more widely, to describe any situation in which it is thought that eventually, the outcome will be positive.

Usage

The idiom 'in the long run' is used to express optimism about a situation that is currently difficult or confusing. It can also be used to encourage someone to try to remain focused on the potential long-term benefits of a current course of action, rather than worrying too much about the present. It is often used in conversation, and can be used both in the affirmative, or to offer support or encouragement to someone else. For example, 'in the long run, it will all be worth it!' or 'don't worry; in the long run, everything will be okay.'

Example Sentences

  • The stock market can be volatile, but in the long run, the investments you make should pay off.
  • I know the job is tough right now, but if you stick with it in the long run you'll get the rewards.
  • Don't worry about your poor test scores—in the long run, what matters is that you make consistent effort.
  • I'm sure

The meanings of the words in the "in the long run" idiom

The Global Spread of English Idioms

As English has become a global language, its idioms have spread far beyond the borders of the UK and USA. For instance, the idiom "beat around the bush" has equivalents in many other languages, such as "tourner autour du pot" in French and "dar vueltas al asunto" in Spanish. Meanwhile, other idioms have been adapted for local contexts, such as the Russian idiom "?? ???? ???????" (ne svoya rubashka), which translates to "not one's own shirt," meaning to be in an uncomfortable or unfamiliar situation.

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