That's torn it

Pedro y La Torre

Senior Member
English (Dublin, Ireland)
Upon checking out my French dictionary in search of an unrelated idiom, I came across this:
"that's torn it (UK, informal, US & informal) , [French translation]"

Having never once come across this expression before, I was a little surprised. I then found this meaning "an unexpected event or circumstance that has upset one's plans".

My question is, how widespread is this expression in BE/AE (it appears to be more popular in British English) and is it used in any other regions around the world? Furthermore, is it always restricted to informal circumstances, as the dictionary seems to indicate?
 
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  • Meyer Wolfsheim

    Senior Member
    English
    Nope, I've never heard it. The expression makes no sense to me and I would have to look it up to get an understanding of what it means; a truly idiomatic expression I guess. I assume that it is restricted to certain regions of the U.S...

    I can only picture myself using this expression as a joke or to make fun of it but I will begin using it to see how my fellow natives react.
     

    violadimaggio

    Member
    Italian
    According to Grammar and Vocabulary for Cambridge Advanced and Proficiency this expression means: "you have done something that someone else will complain strongly about".
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    It sounds a bit antiquated to me - the kind of thing I might have come across in children's books when I was a child. I don't believe I've ever said it myself.
     

    Szkot

    Senior Member
    British English
    According to Grammar and Vocabulary for Cambridge Advanced and Proficiency this expression means: "you have done something that someone else will complain strongly about".

    I find that definition quite surprising. I associate it with children's stories from bygone days - I can imagine Enid Blyton's Famous Five might have used it, with the meaning quoted by sound shift.
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    I quite often use this expression in speech, informally or in jest. I might even use it informally or in jest in an email message to a friend.
    :thumbsup:

    According to Grammar and Vocabulary for Cambridge Advanced and Proficiency this expression means: "you have done something that someone else will complain strongly about".
    The meaning given is confusing, I would say, "a exclamation/comment made when you (or someone else) have done something that someone else will complain strongly about", or that is a serious inconvenience.

    A: "Look, all we have to do is, open John's drawer, read the letter and put it back. Nobody will ever know what we have done."
    B: "OK. Do that. I will keep watch.
    A: [suddenly] I've got the drawer open, but it is stuck! It won't go back!"
    B: "Oh no! That's torn it! I can see John coming!"

    A: [outside A's house, A is talking to B] "It's raining, come inside, we'll have a cup of coffee." [A puts his key in the lock and turns it] "Damn! That's torn it! The key's broken. We're locked out."
     

    George French

    Senior Member
    English - UK
    It sounds a bit antiquated to me - the kind of thing I might have come across in children's books when I was a child. I don't believe I've ever said it myself.

    I still use this even though I haven't been completely immersed in a UK environment for some time. Nevertheless my day to day language has always been English and when I hear this it does not make me think about its meaning.. It's embedded, for better, or for worse". But I note your belief about the antiquity of "that's torn it"..

    GF..

    And some of the (online) dictionaries entries, suggest that editing of dictionaries is not a precise art. Or is it that the editors, come what may, have to get stuff ready for printing? Come what may.

    If every dictionary has exactly the same I would think that some/most of the worst expectations in Aldous Huxley's Brave New World had occurred.

    Precise is too precise a word. :D
     
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