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Q: It Ain't Over Until... ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   2 Comments )
Subject: It Ain't Over Until...
Category: Miscellaneous
Asked by: brudenell-ga
List Price: $2.00
Posted: 05 Jan 2003 04:45 PST
Expires: 04 Feb 2003 04:45 PST
Question ID: 137737
"It ain't over until the fat lady sings" Who was the fat lady?
Subject: Re: It Ain't Over Until...
Answered By: seizer-ga on 05 Jan 2003 05:04 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hi there brudenell!

There was no fat lady, unfortunately. But it seems fairly sure where
the phrase originated...

The chap in question is Dan Cook, a sports commentator. In 1976, in
the San Antonio "News-Express", he wrote in his column that "the opera
ain't over until the fat lady sings" (He now says that he cannot
remember the exact date, or what the column was really about). He then
repeated the line in a 1978 broadcast. The Washington Bullets coach
Dick Motta heard the broadcast, and used the term publicly to
encourage the team's supporters - after which it became the rallying
cry for the rest of the championship. This seems to have been enough
to propel it into the public mind, and get everyone using it.

It's actually rather hard to find this information on the net through
normal searches, so my first tip off was remembering that Cecil Adams
dealt with the question in his excellent "Return of the Straight Dope"
(ISBN 0-345-38111-4). Once I had the name Dan Cook, I used the
following searches:

"dan cook" fat lady sings
"dan cook" fat lady origin

A few webpages comment that the phrase may have another origin:
"Church ain't over till the fat lady sings". This theory doesn't have
very much backing, however, so I'd stick with the Dan Cook

I hope this helps - feel free to request clarification if anything's
unclear, or the links below do not function properly.

All the best,


See here for more:
brudenell-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars

Subject: Re: It Ain't Over Until...
From: bwl02kc-ga on 05 Jan 2003 05:33 PST
It's usually taken to be a reference to opera, so many performances of
which seem to end with a set-piece aria by a well-built soprano, but
its recent links are mainly with sport, so much so that some people
think that is the origin.
furthur info at
Subject: Re: It Ain't Over Until...
From: brudenell-ga on 05 Jan 2003 09:12 PST
Hello bwl02kc-ga

Thank you for your comment! Your time to research is appreciated.


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