The phrase “it’s not over till the fat lady sings” is a colloquialism that means that something is not finished or complete until the very end. It is often used in sports, politics, and other competitive situations to express the idea that there is still a chance for an upset or comeback.
Origin Of ‘It’s Not Over Until The Fat Lady Sings’
The phrase is thought to have originated in the opera world. In many operas, there is a tradition of having a large, imposing woman sing the final aria. This aria is often a triumphant one, and it signals the end of the opera. As a result, the phrase “it’s not over till the fat lady sings” came to be used to mean that something is not over until the very end, when all the loose ends have been tied up and the final victory has been achieved.
The phrase seems to be particularly connected to Wagner’s opera cycle Der Ring des Nibelungen. The final opera, Gotterdammerung, is the particular reference, where the “fat lady” is the valkyrie, Brunhilde, usually sung by a well-built singer. Her farewell scene is a huge climax to the whole of the Ring cycle. The world is about to come to an end with a bang, as soon as the fat lady stops singing. Once she does it’s all over.
Usage In Sport
The phrase has been used in several sporting contexts over the years. For example, it was used by sportscasters during the 1980 Olympic hockey game between the United States and the Soviet Union. The Americans were trailing by four goals with just minutes left in the game, but they came back to win in one of the most famous upsets in sports history. In the aftermath of the game, sportscasters commented that “it’s not over till the fat lady sings,” and the phrase became a rallying cry for the American team.
‘It’s Not Over Until The Fat Lady Sings’ In Politics
The phrase has also been used in politics. For example, it was used by President Ronald Reagan during his 1984 re-election campaign. Reagan was trailing in the polls at the time, but he went on to win by a landslide. In the aftermath of the election, Reagan said that “it’s not over till the fat lady sings,” and the phrase became a symbol of his comeback victory.
Uses In Popular Culture
‘It’s not over till the fat lady sings’ is a very popular phrase, deeply embedded in the English language now. Here are a few instances of its use in popular culture.
- In the film “The Natural,” Robert Redford’s character, Roy Hobbs, is down to his last strike in the World Series. As he steps up to the plate, the announcer says, “It’s not over till the fat lady sings.” Hobbs then hits a home run to win the game.
- In the book “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” Stieg Larsson uses the phrase to describe the character of Lisbeth Salander. Salander is a strong and independent woman who is not afraid to take on challenges. She is often underestimated, but she always proves that she is capable of more than people think.
- The song “It’s Not Over Till the Fat Lady Sings” was a hit for Bonnie Tyler in 1983. The song is about never giving up, no matter how difficult things may seem. It is a powerful anthem for anyone who has ever faced adversity.
- The phrase “it’s not over till the fat lady sings” has also been used in several advertisements. For example, it was used in a commercial for the NFL in 2014. The commercial showed a montage of football highlights, with the announcer saying, “It’s not over till the fat lady sings.” The commercial was a reminder that anything is possible in the NFL, until the very end.
In conclusion, the phrase “it’s not over till the fat lady sings” is a powerful reminder that anything is possible until the very end. It is a phrase that can be used to encourage people to never give up, no matter how difficult things may seem. It is also a phrase that can be used to celebrate victory, knowing that it was achieved through hard work and determination.