Sunday, April 16, 2006


It ain't over till the fat lady sings

(originally posted March 23, 2006)

"It ain't over 'til the fat lady sings."

Definition: "it ain't over 'til it's over". :D Depending on the context, it can mean two things. If you are losing, it means "don't give up until the game is actually lost". If you are winning, it means "don't let up or they may yet turn things around."

(By the way, "it ain't over till it's over" is coined by baseball great, Yogi Berra, who has a LOT of these pithy sayings.)

Example: "It looks like our school basketball team is having another dismal year. However, it ain't over till the fat lady sings."

Origin: Those of you who have watched Italian opera before knows that this expression probably referred to opera. Indeed, the full phrase was "the opera ain't over until the fat lady sings."

The expression was coined by Dan Cook, a sportswriter for the San Antonian News-Express (newspaper), who also works for the local TV station KENS-TV. The original context was about the NBA team San Antonio Spurs in 1976 to describe their losing season, Cook warned not to count them out just yet. He used it again in 1978, this time on TV when San Antonio Spurs was down three games to one in the Playoffs. Spurs eventually lost the series, but Dick Motta, coach of the opposing team, Washington Bullets (now the Washington Wizards), used the expression to caution his team not to get overconfident against their next opponent. Motta was widely quoted, and the expression became popular enough that everybody started using it.

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