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It's not over until the fat lady sings

Posted by Alex on July 15, 2005

I was suprised to only find a single origin to this saying referring to the end of an opera or a church service. I understood that the phrase originated from Victorian steam train vernacular commonly directed at a flailing stoker "come on boy It's not over until the fat lady sings!" referring to the 'fat lady' (the trains boiler) and 'singing' being her whistle when fully stoked. Can anyone verify or refute this theory?