The idiom "set in stone" describes something that is fixed, unchangeable, or permanent. It's often associated with decisions, rules, or plans that are considered final and unalterable.
"Set in stone" means that something is decided or fixed and cannot be changed.
The phrase emphasizes the rigidity and permanence of a certain element, often a rule, decision, or plan. It evokes imagery of engravings on stone monuments, which are intended to last indefinitely.
Let's delve into its core meanings and related expressions:
The phrase "set in stone" has its origins in ancient times when important laws, treaties, and religious texts were literally inscribed on stone or clay tablets. This was done not only for durability but also to signify the permanent and unchangeable nature of the text.
One of the most famous examples of this is the Code of Hammurabi, an ancient Babylonian law code dating back to around 1754 BC, which was inscribed on a large stone stele. Similarly, the Ten Commandments in the Bible were said to be written on stone tablets.
"She realized in a living tableau the imagination which the minutely enough to guarantee its perfect accuracy, but in the Princess Marie of Orleans had set in stone; and that was nearly sort of inspection which we thought sufficient."
- The Saturday Review of Politics, Literature, Science and Art, 1859
Here are some examples of using the idiom in sentences:
The phrase "set in stone" often appears in media related to politics, business, and literature, often to emphasize the unchangeability of a situation or decision.
Let's look at some examples:
There are several alternative expressions that convey a similar meaning to "set in stone."
Some of these include:
You can use these alternatives interchangeably depending on the context and the degree of permanence involved.
"Set in stone" refers to something that is unchangeable or fixed, often a decision, rule, or plan.
You can use "set in stone" to emphasize the rigidity or permanence of something. For example, "The rules of the contest are set in stone."
The phrase likely originates from ancient times when important laws or proclamations were literally inscribed on stone monuments.
Yes, it is commonly used metaphorically to refer to something that is unchangeable or fixed.
While it usually implies permanence, it can also be used to convey a strong sense of commitment or decision.
Yes, it is often used in professional contexts to indicate that a decision, plan, or rule is final.
Yes, it is a common idiom in English-speaking countries.
Yes, it can be used to describe a person's unchangeable or deeply held beliefs or attitudes.
"Set in stone" means that something is fixed or unchangeable, while "up in the air" means that something is still undecided or uncertain.
Yes, for instance, one could say, "My weekend plans are not set in stone - unless my mom calls."
The idiom "set in stone" indicates something that is fixed or unchangeable. It is used to convey the rigidity or permanence of a situation, decision, or rule, suggesting something that cannot be altered.
Here's a quick recap:
Just because something is "set in stone" doesn't mean it's always the end of the story. It simply means change won't come easy.