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Famous last words

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  • Famous last words is a phrase that may be used literally or as an idiom. An idiom is a figure of speech that is a word, group of words or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal definition. We will examine the meanings of famous last words, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences.

    Famous last words may simply refer to the final words spoken before a person dies. Many lists have been compiled of the dying words of famous people, including Stan Laurel’s last words: “I’d rather be skiing,” as well as Steve Jobs’ last words: “Oh wow.” However, the phrase famous last words is often used to mean an ironic comment that turns out to be incorrect. Famous last words is often used as a rejoinder when one does not agree with a positive assertion. For instance, one may say while waiting in line to board a imminently departing airplane, “We’ll make it in time.” If one’s companion doubts the truth of the assertion, he may say, “Famous last words.” This use of the term famous last words first appeared in the 1920s.

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    Examples

    While Lazaridis urged his business partner to re-evaluate their future plans, Balsillie responded with the famous last words – “It’s ok – we’ll be fine”. (The Market Mogul Magazine)

    “But of course, famous last words, it won’t be a hurricane when it gets towards the British Isles.” (The Express)

    And I said it would be perfectly fine, and he said “famous last words” and I fell out of the tree and broke the solar garden light I landed on. (The New Zealand Herald)

     

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