Here's the Thing: Definition, Meaning, and Origin

Last Updated on
October 4, 2023

When navigating the rich terrain of the English language, certain phrases stand out for their meaning and the rhythm they add to our conversations. One such idiom, "here’s the thing," serves as more than just a bridge to a point; it's an invitation to lean in to truly understand the essence of what someone is about to share.

In short:

"Here’s the thing" generally means presenting a key point or central idea about a topic.

What Does "Here’s the Thing" Mean?

When someone says, “here’s the thing,” they're typically about to present an essential fact, opinion, or piece of information. It's like saying, "Listen up!" or "This is important." But the beauty of this idiom lies in its variations and related expressions. Styled up in a sentence, it can also take on various subtle changes in meaning.

  • Used to introduce a contrasting point: "You're right, but here’s the thing...”
  • To correct someone's misconception: “Here’s the thing, it's not as simple as you think.”
  • Setting the record straight: “You might have heard X, but here’s the thing…”

Just like many idioms, context plays a significant role in understanding the underlying meaning of "here’s the thing."

Where Does "Here’s the Thing" Come From?

"Here’s the thing" isn't a fresh phrase out of the oven; its roots trace back several decades. The idiom's origins are a tad hazy, but its widespread usage in literature and media has landed it a notable place in English language history.

Historical Usage

The first documented usage can be found in literature from the early 20th century, though it's believed to have been used colloquially even before then.

"Here's the thing, Watson,"

-Sherlock Holmes, in a story from the 1920s, emphasizing the importance of his next statement.

Over time, the phrase gained traction and started appearing in various works, solidifying its place in everyday language.

10 Examples of "Here’s the Thing" in Sentences

The versatility of here’s the thing allows it to be molded to fit a variety of scenarios.

Let's look at its adaptability:

  • Here's the thing: I can't abide by last-minute changes. But since I've already landed in this situation, I'll adapt and make it work.
  • Everyone thinks he's guilty, but here’s the thing: there's no evidence.
  • Here’s the thing about life: it doesn't always go as planned.
  • You may not like the rules, but here’s the thing—they're in place for a reason.
  • Here's the thing: I barely made it to the train station on time due to the unexpected traffic.
  • You think it's a waste of time, but here’s the thing: it's essential for our strategy.
  • They might be popular now, but here’s the thing: trends change.
  • Oh, you thought I forgot about our meeting? Of course not; I wouldn't forget something so important. Here's the thing: I rescheduled it for tomorrow.
  • We could go your way, but here’s the thing: we've tried that before, and it didn't work.
  • It looks easy, but here’s the thing: it takes a lot of practice to master.

Abide with these examples, and you'll soon find yourself integrating the idiom seamlessly into various contexts!

Examples of "Here’s the Thing" in Pop Culture

Popular culture has been instrumental in promoting and preserving the essence of here’s the thing.

Whether in movies, series, or music, the phrase has made notable appearances:

  • "Here's the thing" was the title of a comedy talk show hosted by Alec Baldwin.
  • In the film "The Break-Up," Jennifer Aniston’s character says, “Here’s the thing: I'm good without you."
  • On the TV show "Friends," Chandler Bing often used the phrase, exclaiming, "Okay, here's the thing."
  • The sitcom "How I Met Your Mother" had Ted Mosby articulating, "Here’s the thing about mistakes."
  • Popular podcasts sometimes start their episodes with "Here’s the thing" to lay emphasis on the episode's theme.

Synonyms: Other/Different Ways to Say "Here’s the Thing"

Of course, English is a versatile language with a plethora of ways to express a single idea. Here’s the thing is no exception. While it's distinctive in its own right, there are other phrases which can convey similar meanings:

  • The fact of the matter is
  • Listen up
  • What I'm trying to say is
  • The point is
  • This is crucial

Remember, although these synonyms are interchangeable, their exact meanings can vary based on context. Always be mindful when using them.

10 Frequently Asked Questions About "Here’s the Thing":

  • What are the origins of the term?

The exact origins are unclear, but its use can be traced back to early 20th-century literature and possibly even earlier in colloquial language.

  • How is the phrase used in day-to-day language?

It's typically used to emphasize an essential point or piece of information, often contradicting a prior statement or introducing new insight.

  • Can "here’s the thing" be used formally?

While more common in informal speech, it can also fit into formal settings if used judiciously.

  • Does it have variations?

Yes, depending on the context, its meaning can slightly vary.

  • What’s the difference between "here’s the thing" and "the thing is"?

Both are used to emphasize an important point, but "the thing is" might sound a tad more informal.

  • Is it a global term?

While predominantly used in English-speaking countries, its essence is understood widely due to media and literature exposure.

  • Is it a modern phrase?

No, it has been in use for several decades, if not longer.

  • Does it have a sarcastic undertone?

Not inherently, but like many phrases, it can be delivered sarcastically depending on tone and context.

  • Is it cliché to use "here’s the thing"?

It's a common idiom, but not necessarily cliché. Its usage depends on the speaker's intention and the context.

  • Any notable uses in literature or media?

Yes, it's been used in various movies, series, and even named a talk show.

Final Thoughts About "Here's the Thing"

Idioms like "here's the thing" enrich our language, allowing us to express complex ideas succinctly. While its origins might be somewhat mysterious, its presence in our conversations is undeniable.

  • Meaning: "Here’s the thing" is an idiom used to present an essential fact, opinion, or piece of information, essentially emphasizing a key point.
  • Origins: Its exact roots are somewhat unclear, but its use is traced back to literature from the early 20th century and was likely in colloquial use.
  • Usage Variations: Depending on the context, the phrase can introduce a contrasting point, correct misconceptions, or set the record straight.
  • Examples in Pop Culture: The idiom has made appearances in movies, TV shows, talk shows, and more, solidifying its place in the popular vernacular.
  • Synonyms: Phrases like "The fact of the matter is," "Listen up," and "The point is" convey similar sentiments.
  • Presence in Modern Language: The idiom has been around for decades and remains a versatile tool for emphasis in English communication.

So the next time you're about to drop a knowledge bomb or contradict someone, remember you've got the perfect phrase up your sleeve: "here's the thing."

We encourage you to share this article on Twitter and Facebook. Just click those two links - you'll see why.

It's important to share the news to spread the truth. Most people won't.

Copyright © 2024 - U.S. Dictionary
Privacy Policy