Where Did the Phrase “It Isn’t Over ‘Til the Fat Lady Sings” Come From and What Does the Expression Mean?

In the 1970s, Washington sports columnist Dan Cook wrote, “The opera isn’t over ’til the fat lady sings.”

Later, basketball coach Dick Motta, referring to the Bulls’ slim playoff chances, misquoted Cook when he said, “It isn’t over ’til the fat lady sings,” and the phrase stuck.

The inspiration to this classic saying might have been the old American proverb, “Church ain’t out ’til the fat lady sings”.

But regardless, it’s now accepted in sports as meaning: where there’s life, there’s hope.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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