The opera ain't over till the fat lady sings

Posted by ESC on February 19, 2003

In Reply to: Archives: fat lady sings posted by R. Berg on February 19, 2003

: : Does somebody know the origin and meaning of the expression "it´s not over until the fat lady sings"?
: : Jaime

: Try the link below ( bulletin_board 1 messages 2741.html).

I cut the reference off the end of that entry. Here's a do-over:

OPERA AIN'T OVER TILL THE FAT LADY SINGS, THE -- "The outcome of any contest isn't known until the final results are in. Thus, don't make premature judgments or give up too soon. Often associated with Wagnerian opera, specifically Brunhilde's 'Fire Song,' in 'Die Walkure,' and the fact that Wagner may seem interminable to nonaficionados. Thus one's impatience would be relieved when 'the fat lady sings.' Originated in the United States in the 1970s. Bartlett's 'Familiar Quotations' attributes the coinage to San Antonio TV sports commentator Dan Cook. Ralph Graves claims in the August 1991 issue of 'Smithsonian' that it has its roots in Southern proverbial lore: 'Church ain't out till the fat lady sings. There are still other attributions, but nobody really knows who coined this popular saying." From the Random House Dictionary of Popular Proverbs and Sayings by Gregory Y. Titelman (Random House, New York, 1996).