What does the idiom "It ain't over till the fat lady sings" mean?

You are wondering about the meaning of the phrase It ain't over till the fat lady sings, maybe you heard it in a TV show, movie or theater play. Although this idiom is not used very often, it enriches your capacity of expression and strengthens communication. In which case is the expression It ain't over till the fat lady sings used and what is its meaning?

Meaning of "It ain't over till the fat lady sings"

Meaning

The idiom “it ain’t over till the fat lady sings” is a colloquial expression used to signify that something is not yet complete, and the outcome is still unknown. This phrase is often used to refer to a situation that is unfolding, or that has just begun to take shape but has not yet yielded a clear resolution. This phrase originated in the United States, but is now commonly used in other English-speaking countries as well.

Etymology

The phrase “it ain’t over till the fat lady sings” is a variation of the phrase “the opera ain’t over till the fat lady sings”, which was coined by the American sportswriter, Dan Cook. Cook was covering a baseball game in 1978 when he used the phrase to describe a situation in which the result of the game was still unknown. The phrase quickly gained popularity and by 1980 had become a well-known idiom in the United States.

Usage

The phrase “it ain’t over till the fat lady sings” is typically used to indicate that something is not yet finished, and that the outcome is uncertain. This phrase can be used in a variety of contexts, such as when referring to a sports event, business deal, political campaign, or a decision-making process. It is typically used to emphasize that even though the situation may seem to be at a standstill, the outcome is still up in the air and can be swayed in either direction. Moreover, the phrase is used to indicate that the outcome will not be known until the very end.

Example Sentences

  • “It ain’t over till the fat lady sings. Just because the stock is down today doesn’t mean it won’t bounce back tomorrow.”
  • “I know you think it’s a lost cause, but remember, it ain’t over till the fat lady sings.”
  • “We’re still in the early stages of this campaign, and it ain’t over till the fat lady sings.”

The meanings of the words in the "It ain't over till the fat lady sings" 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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