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Hindsight is 20/20

Posted by Masakim on June 12, 2003

In Reply to: Hindsight is 20/20 posted by TheFallen on June 12, 2003

: : Can somebody explain this?

: Hindsight means looking backwards - most usually in time - and 20/20 is a term from the world of optometry used to describe having perfect vision. The phrase therefore simply means that you can always determine what the correct course of action would have been *after* you've made a decision and seen its results. Similar expressions would be "hindsight is an exact science", "it's easy to be wise after the event" or one I've only recently come across, "nobody's smarter than a Monday morning quarterback".

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 (or 20-20) hindsight n phr by 1962 Perfect foresight of what has already been seen: "... observers empowered with 20-20 hindsight wanted to know"--New York Times
From _Dictionary of American Slang, Third Edition_ by Robert L. Chapman
With 20/20 hindsight, we see that our national unity problem was not so much a constitutional issue, and certainly not a racebased conflict, but merely the result of our cultural ignorance. (Benoit Aubin, "Speaking in Tongues," _Maclean's_, December 9, 2002)