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The meaning and origin of the expression: The fat is in the fire

The fat is in the fire

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What's the meaning of the phrase 'The fat is in the fire'?

'The fat is in the fire' is used to express the opinion that a plan has gone irretrievably wrong, because of some calamity.

What's the origin of the phrase 'The fat is in the fire'?

The fat is in the fire.This proverbial saying is first found in John Heywood's 1546 glossary A Dialogue conteinyng the nomber in effect of all the Prouerbes in the Englishe tongue:

Nowe if we awarde me this wydowe to wedde,
And that I dryue of tyme, tyll tyme she be dedde:
Than farewell ryches, the fat is in the fyre.
And neuer shall I to lyke riches aspire.

In the above line Heywood was referring to the choice between marriage or wealth and that, if he chose marriage, then 'farewell riches'.

See also: the List of Proverbs.

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