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as a dog returns to his vomit, so a fool repeats his folly
Foolish people are apt to repeat their missteps. A: "I can't believe Sarah is going skiing again, after she broke her leg the last time." B: "Well, as a dog returns to his vomit, so a fool repeats his folly."
history repeats itself
Said when something that has happened in the past recurs in the present. Can be used in the negative to mean the opposite. And, once again, I got dumped. History repeats itself. The home team has lost their last three game sevens, so I bet they're hoping that history doesn't repeat itself tonight.
To repeat what one has previously done or stated. Be sure to take detailed notes, because I will not repeat myself. People surprised at the sudden shift in public opinion would do well to remember that history tends to repeat itself.
See also: repeat
History repeats itself.
Prov. The same kinds of events seem to happen over and over. It seems that history is about to repeat itself for that poor country; it is about to be invaded again. Alan: The country is headed for an economic depression. Jane: How do you know? Alan: History repeats itself. The conditions now are just like the conditions before the last major depression.
Express oneself in the same way or with the same words, as in Grandma forgets she has told us this story before and repeats herself over and over, or This architect tends to repeat himself-all his houses look alike. A well-known version of this idiom is the proverb History repeats itself, first recorded (in English) in 1561. For example, Her mother also married when she was 18-history repeats itself. [Mid-1800s]
See also: repeat