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"Done For"

Posted by R. Berg on January 26, 2003

In Reply to: "Done For" posted by Shacheendra on January 26, 2003

: Hello, I was just wondering if any one might know the origin of the phrase "done for", meaning "beaten" or "doomed". Thanks in advance for any information.

The Oxford English Dictionary lists this under the phrase "do for," defined as "to ruin, damage, or injure fatally, destroy, wear out entirely," colloquial. Early quotations: "He said he would do for him . . . and other wicked, bad words" (Fielding, 1752). "The Kent is almost done for, and she is going to Malta" (Nelson, 1803).