phrases, sayings, proverbs and idioms at

The Phrase Finder

Home button Home | Search the phrases.org.uk website Search | Phrase Dictionary | Elementary my dear Watson

The meaning and origin of the expression: Elementary my dear Watson

Browse phrases beginning with:
 
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T UV W XYZ Full List

Elementary my dear Watson

Other phrases about:

Meaning

The supposed explanation that Sherlock Holmes gave to his assistant, Dr. Watson, when explaining deductions he had made.

Origin

holmesIn fact the line doesn't appear in the Conan Doyle books, only later in Sherlock Holmes' films.

Left quote icon
One of the best known phrases that Sherlock Holmes never said.
right quote
He does come rather close at a few of points. Holmes says "Elementary" in 'The Crooked Man', and "It was very superficial, my dear Watson, I assure you" in 'The Cardboard Box'. He also says "Exactly, my dear Watson, in three different stories.

The phrase was first used by P. G. Wodehouse, in Psmith Journalist, 1915.