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idiom: until the fat lady sings



 
ESL Forum | English Teacher Explanations (ESL Tests)
Test incompl/advan-522, Question 7 | Jekyll and Hyde
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idiom: until the fat lady sings #1 (permalink) Sun May 13, 2012 10:19 am   idiom: until the fat lady sings
 

English Language Proficiency Tests, Advanced Level

ESL/EFL Test #524 "English Slang Idioms (108)", question 4

He knew that the courts traditionally favored awarding full custody of small children to the mother but he had to try. He knew that he probably wouldn't win but he told himself "It isn't over till the ......... lady sings" and he believed it.

(a) opera
(b) fat
(c) idol
(d) first

English Language Proficiency Tests, Advanced Level

ESL/EFL Test #524 "English Slang Idioms (108)", answer 4

He knew that the courts traditionally favored awarding full custody of small children to the mother but he had to try. He knew that he probably wouldn't win but he told himself "It isn't over till the fat lady sings" and he believed it.

Correct answer: (b) fat

Your answer was: incorrect
He knew that the courts traditionally favored awarding full custody of small children to the mother but he had to try. He knew that he probably wouldn't win but he told himself "It isn't over till the first lady sings" and he believed it.
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I wonder why "fat lady".Is there any connotation with "fat lady" in the western culture?.I think ,it is more like a proverb.I wonder the story behind that proverb.
Lucas Tun
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idiom: until the fat lady sings #2 (permalink) Sun May 13, 2012 10:36 am   idiom: until the fat lady sings
 

Ha, that's quite confusing! I would have said 'opera'. Look what I found on wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/It_ain't_over_till_the_fat_lady_sings
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Re: idiom: until the fat lady sings #3 (permalink) Sun May 13, 2012 10:46 am   Re: idiom: until the fat lady sings
 

Lucas Tun wrote:
I wonder why "fat lady".Is there any connotation with "fat lady" in the western culture?.I think ,it is more like a proverb.I wonder the story behind that proverb.

Have you ever been to opera? :))
If you have you probably know that ladies that sing opera, especially at the end, tend to be plump of body.
Hence, when you say "it ain't over till the fat lady sings" you mean that it's not over yet - the fat lady must sing first.
It's a very common saying, I've heard it many times. So you'd do well to remember it.
:))
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idiom: until the fat lady sings #4 (permalink) Sun May 13, 2012 13:54 pm   idiom: until the fat lady sings
 

Nowadays, leading ladies of the opera tend to be more svelte, but the idiom persists.

The idiom (on the left) vs. the reality (on the right)


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idiom: until the fat lady sings #5 (permalink) Tue May 15, 2012 10:46 am   idiom: until the fat lady sings
 

Great explanation,guys, thank you so much. I'll definitely use this idiom whenever i get a chance to use it. And thanks to the photos posted by beeesneees(i got your name right,huh?:) ), this idiom will be extremely easy to remember.
Lucas Tun
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Joined: 11 Mar 2012
Posts: 19

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