Done and dusted

What is the meaning of the phrase ‘Done and dusted’?

Completely finished or decided.

What is the origin of the phrase ‘Done and dusted’?

Unfortunately, we don’t have the first recorded use of this term, However, it is evident to have originated in the 19th century.

One theory that has been discussed about the origin of the phrase is that it’s related to the use of ink in writing. During the time of origin, people used wet ink from a quill to write their letters and documents. But, depending on what ink was used, it could sometimes take a considerable length of time to dry. For this reason, people would sometimes blot the paper dry with a dusting of pounce powder. So, at the time, a letter or document was never completely finished or decided until it was ‘Done and dusted’.

Despite the literal phrase no longer applying today, it remains a very common phrase and a good metaphor to represent an endeavour coming to an end. In this vein, it continues to be used in a wide variety of contexts as well as for letters and documents, such as when an online meeting has arrived at a decision and has been wrapped up and the recording has stopped.

Trend of done and dusted in printed material over time

Cari Mayhew - Author at Phrase Finder

Cari Mayhew

Lifelong learner, phrase fanatic, and lover of literature across multiple genres. Cari Mayhew has a passion for expression, and a keen curiosity for how phrases begin and how their use transforms over time. She is often found looking for the ideal idiom to convey her thoughts and musings.