That’s all she wrote

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That’s all she wrote is an American idiom with an uncertain origin. We will examine the definition of the phrase that’s all she wrote, where it may have come from and some examples of its use in sentences.

That’s all she wrote is a phrase used to express the sentiment that one’s plans have come to an abrupt halt, that something has ended and there is nothing else to be said or discussed about the matter. That’s all she wrote is an American phrase, and most attribute its origin to the Dear John letters sent during World War II. A joke made the rounds in which servicemen compare their Dear John letters, one being a pages-long good-bye letter, one consisting of a few sentences, and one simply saying “Dear John”. The punchline being, “That’s all she wrote.” Several Country and Western songs have been written containing the phrase that’s all she wrote.


“Wilke got us the lead on the first leg, and that was all she wrote.” (The Belleville News-Democrat)

“Give him some bread from a bank envelope; he gives me a laundry bag full of dope – that’s all she wrote.” (Rolling Stone Magazine)

She remembers he stopped by to see her once, while she was babysitting, “and boy, that was all she wrote,” Maville said. (The Valley News)

“He taps it back to the pitcher and gets a 1-2-3 double play and that’s all she wrote.” (The Hickory Record)

“I want to swim my last race as a Bowdoin Polar Bear and know that I left it literally all in the pool because that’s all there is, that’s all she wrote,” said Patterson. (The Bowdoin Orient)