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What's done is done

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Title: What's done is done  
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Subject: Macbeth (1954 film), Macbeth (1915 film), Macbeth (1911 film), Macbeth (1922 film), Shakespeare Must Die
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What's done is done

"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]


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."


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


  1. ^ "What does "what's done is done" mean?".  
  2. ^ "Et Hanaaseh Ein Lehashiv".  
  3. ^ """Details: "What's done is done / A lo hecho, pecho.  
  4. ^ "What's Done is Done – Shakespeare Quotes".  
  5. ^ "Macbeth: Act 5, Scene 1, Page 3".  
  6. ^ Bruce, Elyse (June 29, 2010). "What's Done Is Done".  

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