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English Idioms and Phrases: A foregone conclusion

Updated on November 10, 2012


The definition of the phrase 'a foregone conclusion' means something that is inevitable, a conclusion which is certain.

"We will all die, it is a foregone conclusion"

It can also be used to demonstrate a level of belief in something for example a football fan may say "Manchester will beat Arsenal today, it is a foregone conclusion"

While the fan does not know for certain this is what he believes, or wants to believe.



Like many idioms and phrases in the English language, this phrase originates in the work of William Shakespeare.

First seen in the English language in the play "The tragedy of Othello, the Moor of Venice" (quite often referred to simply as "Othello" which was first published in 1565.

In Act 3, scene 3 Othello says to Iago

"But this denoted a foregone conclusion"

It was used in the same meaning as is currently in use.

Alternatives or Synonyms

Certainty, definite outcome / result


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    • Roy Woodhouse profile image

      Roy Woodhouse 5 years ago from London, England

      I'm glad you enjoyed it, and thanks for the advice! I've tried to include the evolution on some, but I'll come back and edit ones like this one when I've discovered more... I hope you continue to enjoy them :)

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 5 years ago from New York

      Good background and explanation but I think it would've been nice to add a little more information, maybe the phrase's evolution since Shakespeare? I liked your examples. Well done.

      Voted up.