Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Wikipedia.
Related to hindsight: hindsight is 20/20
Foresight is better than hindsight.
cliché It is better to anticipate and prevent future problems than to realize how they could have been avoided after the fact. If I were you, I would pay the extra $50 for full insurance coverage while you're traveling. You never know what might happen, and foresight is better than hindsight.
See also: better
hindsight is (always) 20/20
It is easier to clearly reevaluate past actions or decisions than when they are being made or done; things are clearer or more obvious when they are reflected upon. A reference to the visual acuity of normal eyesight (20/20 vision). I can see now that having my brother as my legal counsel was unwise, but I guess hindsight is always 20/20. A: "I can't believe I was ever interested in such a self-absorbed jerk." B: "Don't blame yourself. Hindsight is 20/20, after all."
Considering or analyzing the past, with the knowledge that one has now. In retrospect, we shouldn't have invested so heavily in one sector, but there's no way we could have known about some of the risks. It's one of those lessons that you can really only learn in retrospect.
The ability to determine how some mistake or failure in the past could have been avoided. Often used ironically or sarcastically; sometimes stylized as "20/20 hindsight." I can see now that having my brother as my legal counsel was unwise, but I guess twenty-twenty hindsight isn't much use right now. A: "I can't believe I was ever interested in such a self-absorbed jerk." B: "Don't beat yourself about it. We all have 20/20 hindsight."
Knowledge of what one should have done, because it is easier to clearly reevaluate past actions or decisions than when they are being made or done. A reference to the visual acuity of normal eyesight (20/20 vision). With 20/20 hindsight, I can see now that having my brother as my legal counsel was unwise. A: "I can't believe I was ever interested in such a self-absorbed jerk." B: "Don't blame yourself. We all have 20/20 hindsight."
in retrospectand in hindsight
reconsidering the past with the knowledge one now has. In retrospect, I would have gone to a better college. David realized, in hindsight, that he should have finished school.
Looking backward, reflecting on the past. For example, In retrospect, he regarded his move as the best thing he'd ever done. This idiom employs retrospect in the sense of "a view of the past." [Second half of 1600s]
Knowledge after the fact, as in With twenty-twenty hindsight, I wouldn't have bought these tickets. This idiom uses twenty-twenty in the optometrist's sense, that is, "indicating normal vision," and hindsight in the sense of "looking back" or "reconsidering." [First half of 1900s]
in ˈretrospectthinking about a past event or situation, often with a different opinion of it from the one you had at the time: In retrospect, I think that I was wrong. ♢ The decision seems extremely odd, in retrospect.
twenty-twenty hindsightand 20/20 hindsight
n. an ability to figure out what one should have done after it is too late to do it. Everybody has twenty-twenty hindsight!
In looking back on or reviewing the past.