famous last words


Also found in: Acronyms, Wikipedia.

famous last words

A statement or claim that is promptly undone or disproved. This phrase is often humorously or preemptively. A reference to the final words one says before one dies. A: "I can't believe the ER has been so quiet today!" B: "Ugh, famous last words for sure." A: "There's no way we'll get stuck in traffic." B: "Famous last words. Look what's ahead."
See also: famous, last, word

famous last words

Fig. assertions that are almost immediately countered. (Sarcastic.) A: I said I would never speak to her again in my entire life! B: Famous last words! You just said hello to her.
See also: famous, last, word

famous last words

A phrase used to express disbelief, rejection, or self-deprecation. For example, They said we'd get an extra bonus at Christmas-famous last words! or This book is bound to make the best-seller list-famous last words! This expression alludes to grandiose statements about human affairs that prove to be untrue, such as "This is the war to end all wars," or "We must make the world safe for democracy." [Late 1930s]
See also: famous, last, word

famous last words

You say famous last words, after you claim that something will definitely happen in a certain way, in order to suggest, humorously, that you may be proved wrong. No, I think this time, I'll manage just fine on my own. Famous last words. `Yes, it's all under control.' said Bertie, adding `Famous last words.' with a grin. Note: You can also use famous last words to admit that you were in fact wrong about something. When I set out from Birmingham I thought, at least I'll be finished early. Famous last words.
See also: famous, last, word

famous last words

said as an ironic comment on or reply to an overconfident assertion that may well soon be proved wrong by events.
This expression apparently originated as a catchphrase in mid 20th-century armed forces' slang.
2000 Canberra Sunday Times Speaking from New York, he said ‘I expect NASDAQ to fall more than another 5–10 per cent. Famous last words, but I expect it to break 3000, that is about a 20 per cent descent.’
See also: famous, last, word

ˌfamous ˌlast ˈwords

(informal, humorous) used when you think somebody has been too optimistic about something and is likely to be wrong: ‘The journey will only take an hour on the high-speed train.’ ‘Famous last words! That train is always late!’
Last words in this idiom refers to words spoken by somebody just before they die.
See also: famous, last, word

famous last words

A satirical rejoinder to what the speaker considers a fatuous remark or easily refuted statement. The expression alludes to the so-called famous last words of history—for example, “this is the war to end all wars,” or “it [meaning some calamity] could never happen here.” Its exact origin is not known, but Eric Partridge believed it began in the armed services during World War II, first in Britain. After the war it crossed the Atlantic. It now is applied to just about any situation, even as a self-deprecating comment on one’s own remark (“That’s the last time I strike out—famous last words”).
See also: famous, last, word
References in periodicals archive ?
He is fascinated by famous last words, but it is the final words of the dying poet Francois Rabelais that led him into the "Great Perhaps." Miles has been somewhat of a loner at his old school, but quickly makes friends at his new one.
Those are the same famous last words uttered during the Internet boom.
Famous last words and apparently fighting ones for the media exec, who also co-founded 1 TV production giant Endemol.
His encounters with the great, near great, and simply infamous--Hemingway, Joyce, Fitzgerald, Picasso, Waugh, Virginia Woolf, Ian Fleming, Jackson Pollack, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor--are like meetings with forces of nature; the portrait of the self-absorbed and selfish Windsors is reminiscent of Timothy Findley's Famous Last Words. LMS almost always appears a bit dim, more taken advantage of than taking advantage.
The most famous last words manage to combine a stunning insight into the mysteries of life, combined with all element of well-timed humour.
Hale's famous last words: "I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country."
I've been enjoying the Famous Last Words" column in Target Marketing for some time now.
Plus, when someone says, "Things are different this time," that always sounds like unsophisticated famous last words. Sophistication is nothing new, and their sophistication was so strong that they found themselves saying that nothing's changed.
Readers will find no great, famous last words or insights from Henri Nouwen.
Findley's two most acclaimed novels were The Wars (1977), which features the struggle of a soldier in the midst of World War I as he attempts to save 130 doomed horses, and Famous Last Words (1981), narrated by Hugh Selwyn Mauberley, a character created by Ezra Pound.
His other novels include The Last of the Crazy People (1967), about tensions within an Ontario family; The Butterfly Plague (1969), on Hollywood, with parallels to Nazi Germany; and Famous Last Words (1981), weaving together Ezra Pound's character Hugh Selwyn Mauberley, quotations from Pound, and a story of spies at the end of World War II to create a commentary on civilization's decadence.
Recent tournaments have brought heartache and humiliation for the Three Lions, so Gareth Southgate's youthful squad can hardly stoop much lower (famous last words!).
"Surely it's better to at least try?"Those were my famous last words before I attempted using the expanding foam, turning my hallway into Zeus's beard.
The Dessie Hughes-trained Art Of Logistics, a remote third behind Supreme candidate Un Atout at Naas last month, Becauseicouldntsee and Famous Last Words complete the line-up.
Anyway, here's a quote bornagain judge Jason Gardiner may be regretting: "Getting me back was a last-ditch attempt to revive the show." Famous last words. Fail.