What's done is done

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"What's done is done" is an idiom in English.

The expression uses the word "done" in the sense of "finished" or "settled", a usage which dates back to the first half of the 1400s.[1] A Hebrew-language version of the phrase is Et Hanaaseh Ein Lehashiv[2] and a Spanish-language version is A lo hecho, pecho.[3][unreliable source?]

Meaning[edit]

It usually means something along the line of: the consequence of a situation (which was once within your control), is now out of your control, that is, "there's no changing the past, so forget about it and move on."

Etymology[edit]

One of the first-recorded uses of this phrase was by the character Lady Macbeth in the tragedy play Macbeth (early 17th century), by the English playwright William Shakespeare, who said: "Things without all remedy Should be without regard: what's done, is done"[4] and "Give me your hand. What's done cannot be undone. – To bed, to bed, to bed!"[5]

Shakespeare did not coin the phrase; it is actually a derivative of the early 14th-century French proverb: Mez quant ja est la chose fecte, ne peut pas bien estre desfecte, which is translated into English as "But when a thing is already done, it cannot be undone".[6]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "What does "what's done is done" mean?". Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company (via yourdictionary.com). Retrieved December 6, 2011. 
  2. ^ "Et Hanaaseh Ein Lehashiv". www.learnhebrew.org.il. Retrieved December 6, 2011. 
  3. ^ "Details: "What's done is done / A lo hecho, pecho"". Curiosity Media, Inc. March 20, 2010. Retrieved December 6, 2011. 
  4. ^ "What's Done is Done – Shakespeare Quotes". eNotes. Retrieved December 6, 2011. 
  5. ^ "Macbeth: Act 5, Scene 1, Page 3". SparkNotes. Retrieved December 6, 2011. 
  6. ^ Bruce, Elyse (June 29, 2010). "What's Done Is Done". Idiomation (via WordPress. Retrieved December 6, 2011.