phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

Hindsight is 20/20

Posted by Masakim on June 02, 2003

In Reply to: Hindsight is 20/20 posted by ESC on May 30, 2003

: : : Am I saying it correctly?
: : : What does it mean? and it's origin?
: : : Thanks

: : The saying sound right, although I don't think I've ever heard it. It means that it's very easy to be wise/knowledgeable after events have happened. The 20/20 is a way of medically recording perfect vision.

: It's a common saying in the U.S. and you're exactly right about its meaning. Here's a similar saying:

: MONDAY-MORNING QUARTERBACK - "...The term refers to the after-the-fact football spectator who 'knows' just how the quarterback could have won the game of the past weekend, or win with a higher score. An Americanism, the term originated about 1940 and soon was transferred to other examples of twenty-twenty (20/20) hindsight. However, it is interesting to note that the 1911 edition of Ambrose Bierce's 'The Devil's Dictionary' defined Monday as 'In Christian countries, the day after the baseball games.'" "Southpaws & Sunday Punches and other Sporting Expressions" by Christine Ammer (Penguin Books, New York, 1993). Another source says the phrase dates back to 1932. "Random House Historical Dictionary of American Slang, Volume 1, H-O" by J.E. Lighter, Random House, New York, 1994.

twenty-twenty or 20/20 adj: having the normal visual acuity of the human eye that according to one common scale can distinguish at a distance of 20 feet characters one-third inch in diameter
From _Webster's Third New International Dictionary_
twenty-twenty vision n. [20C] perfect vision, in a fig. sense; thus _twenty-twenty insight_, a fig. perfect understanding or appreciation of what has already been seen. [ophthalmic jargon _20/20_, perfect vision]
From Cassell's Dictionary of Slang by Jonathon Green
_A Streetcar Named Desire_: Tennessee William's [sic] prize-winning drama remodelled for screen with 20-20 insighht by Director Elia Kazan and unexcelled cast.... (_Saturday Review of Literature_, September 22, 1951)