phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

Water under the bridge

Posted by ESC on May 31, 2001

In Reply to: Water under the bridge posted by kelly on May 30, 2001

: Where did the phrase "It's all just water under the bridge" come from? I'd like to know the origin, whether it came from a book, usage, or quotation. Thank you for any input!!

Here is what I've found so far. If I find another entry, I'll post it on Phrase Finder.

THAT'S WATER UNDER THE BRIDGE (OVER THE DAM) - "That's happened in the past, cannot be undone, and can no longer be a consideration. The proverb comes from the saying: 'A lot of water has flowed (passed, gone) over the dam (under the bridge.' 'Under the bridge' is British and is the oldest part of the proverb. 'Over the dam' is its American variant." From the "Random House Dictionary of Popular Proverbs and Sayings" by Gregory Y. Titelman (Random House, New York, 1996).

I'm American and I'm most familiar with "that's water under the bridge." Here's a variation that I like: in the movie "Sweet Dreams" starring Jessica Lange as singer Patsy Cline, Patsy tells her errant (and drunken) husband, "It's all whiskey under the bridge."