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The meaning and origin of the expression: A foregone conclusion

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A foregone conclusion

What's the meaning of the phrase 'A foregone conclusion'?

A foregone conclusion is a decision made before the evidence for or against it is known. Literally, it is a conclusion which is inevitable because the result has been decided beforehand (or 'afore').

What's the origin of the phrase 'A foregone conclusion'?

The origin of 'A foregone conclusion'From Shakespeare's Othello, 1604:

OTHELLO:
But this denoted a foregone conclusion:
'Tis a shrewd doubt, though it be but a dream.

What Othello is saying is that he is certain that his lover has been unfaithful to him because his dreaming of it signified that it had already happened - that is, it was 'foregone'. Not evidence that would stand up in court today, but good enough for Othello.

See other phrases and sayings from Shakespeare.