seen one, seen them all

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seen one, seen them all

All of these things are exactly alike; experiencing one of these things is enough to know what everything else of its kind will be like. A slangy, casual shortening of the longer phrase "when you've seen one (something), you've seen them all." Other verbs, such as "heard," "read," "done," etc. are also often used instead of "seen." I prefer dramas, if I'm honest. When it comes to action films, seen one, seen them all. I've never understood the appeal of all these different boy bands—heard one, heard 'em all.
See also: all, seen

seen one, seen them all

One example suffices, as in I'm afraid I don't care for home movies-seen one, seen them all. This world-weary expression was first recorded in 1811. A newer idiom expressing a very similar view is been there, done that, indicating that it is boring to repeat an experience once it has lost its novelty. For example, No, I don't want to climb Mount Washington; been there, done that. This idiom was first recorded in Australia in 1983 and was popularized in America in the 1990s through a widely aired commercial for a soft drink.
See also: all, seen

seen one, seen them all, if/when you've

They are all the same. This world-weary assertion was being made by the early nineteenth century. Mark Twain used it in Innocents Abroad (1869), “To me it seemed that when I had seen one of these martyrs I had seen them all.” See also been there, done that.
See also: if, seen
References in periodicals archive ?
However, I no longer watch these specials, mainly because - well, once you have seen one you have seen 'em all.
Centennial's ILS 35R is like any ILS--if you've seen one you've seen 'em all, right?--except this one has some restrictions at FIRPI, the IF on the localizer.
The same Ronald Reagan who said "If you've seen one redwood you've seen 'em all"?
"See one miracle and you've seen 'em all!" was Reg's view.
Forget the volcanoes - after all, if you've seen one, you've seen 'em all - and they could have filmed the entire series in Scotland, possibly even in a single day.
Unless you live in the desert or the rainforest you probably think "seen one lizard, seen 'em all".
Seen one menu and you've seen 'em all - but, hey, they're right on the doorstep of the cinema and offer an easy option.
Even the scenery isn't all that - seen one rock, seen 'em all. BBC1, Sunday, 5.45pm
Once you've seen one pair of Euro-tits, you've seen 'em all. Just a few more days and I'm back, in America, but now I'm feeling a little sentimental about this place-the food, the wine, the fact that I'm very far from home and I'm skateboarding still...
Seen one, you've seen 'em all. And so the consumer sees none of them.
Then there's "seen one (name the ethnicity or gender), seen 'em all" -- a tendency by reporters to rely on one person to represent the opinions of an entire community.
"When you've seen one picture of a box of cereal, an electrical transformer or a bottle of medicine, you've seen 'em all."
The fringe benefits of becoming a full-time cricketer have already made their mark; and not for him the Tufnell-esque philosophy of "If you've seen one Taj Mahal, you seen 'em all".
Virtually all of the secondary characters are indistinguishable - you've seen one British twit or bloodthirsty Jacobin, you've seen 'em all.