The phrase "water under the bridge" refers to past events that are no longer significant or troubling. It is a metaphor for the process of moving on from past conflicts, disagreements, or mistakes, suggesting that one should focus on the present and future rather than dwell on the past.
"Water under the bridge" refers to past issues, disagreements, or mistakes that have been resolved, forgiven, or forgotten.
The phrase emphasizes the idea that the past should stay in the past, and one should focus on the present and future.
For example, if you and a friend had a fight but have since made up, you might say:
"Let's put that water under the bridge."
This means that you are ready to forget about the fight and move on with your friendship.
Let's delve into its core meanings and usage:
This phrase likely originated from the simple observation of water flowing under a bridge, moving forward and not returning. This concept is a natural metaphor for time and events passing and becoming irretrievable, much like the water that has flowed under a bridge can't be brought back.
"Time after time the best intentions have fallen fruitless, the very highest statesmanship has been brought to bear upon the problem, but it has all passed like water under the bridge."
- Parliamentary Debates, 1920
Here are some examples of using the idiom in sentences:
The phrase "water under the bridge" often appears in media related to personal stories, song lyrics, and films, often to express the act of moving on from past events.
Let's look at some examples:
There are several alternative expressions that convey a similar meaning to "water under the bridge."
Some of these include:
You can use these alternatives interchangeably depending on the context and the specific circumstances of the past events being referenced.
"Water under the bridge" refers to past events that have been resolved, forgotten, or no longer considered significant or problematic.
You can use "water under the bridge" to convey that past issues or conflicts have been resolved or should be forgotten. For instance, "Our disagreement is now water under the bridge, let's move forward."
The phrase likely originated from the observation of water flowing under a bridge, symbolizing the passing of time and the idea that past events are irretrievable.
No, "water under the bridge" typically implies resolution, acceptance, and the act of moving on. It's generally seen as a positive or neutral expression.
Yes, it can be used in a professional context to indicate that past issues or disagreements are no longer relevant or have been resolved.
The phrase is common in English-speaking countries, but similar phrases exist in other languages, conveying the same concept of forgetting or moving on from the past.
While the phrase is more common in spoken language and informal writing, it can be used in formal writing depending on the context and tone of the piece.
Not necessarily. While it often implies forgiveness, it can also suggest forgetting or simply moving past an event without necessarily implying forgiveness.
While commonly used in personal contexts, it can also be used in a variety of situations, such as politics, business, and social issues to indicate moving on from past events or issues.
There's no direct opposite, but phrases like "holding a grudge," "can't let it go," or "living in the past" convey an unwillingness to move on from past events, which contrasts with the meaning of "water under the bridge."
The idiom "water under the bridge" refers to past events that have been resolved, forgiven, or are no longer significant or problematic.
When someone says it's "water under the bridge," you know it's time to move forward and focus on the present and the future.