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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.
lather, rinse, (and) repeat
An instruction to repeat the same steps of some process, perhaps multiple times, in order to achieve the same desired result. A reference to instructions found on some bottles of shampoo. It's easy, you just cut a piece of the material to length, fold it in half, then sew along the edges. Lather, rinse, and repeat until you've done 50 of them. My last job was so mindless. I would just input customer details into a spreadsheet, export the file to our internal format, then add it to the company database. Lather, rinse, repeat, all day long.
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.
repeat after me
Once I say something, please repeat it. A noun or pronoun can be used between "repeat" and "after," specifying what is to be repeated. A: "Repeat after me: I solemnly swear." B: "I solemnly swear." Please repeat the vows after me.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
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.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
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]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.