I once read an idiom which means you can't undo the effects of having said something, but couldn't recollect it now.

I searched on google and also on stack exchange to find out but in vain.

Can you please tell me the idioms that have the meaning as mentioned above?


4 Answers 4


Sounds like you found the one you were looking for, but there are a number of other English idioms that also might work, depending on how exactly you are using them:

  • "You can't unring a bell" (or perhaps "you can't unring that bell")
  • "You can't unscramble an egg"
  • Saying something you later regret is "putting your foot in your mouth"
  • "Closing the barn door after the horse has bolted" is doing something too late.
  • 3
    A couple of others: "You can't put the cat back in the bag", and "You can't put the genie back in the bottle." Jun 14, 2017 at 19:35

The idiom that I was looking for is A word spoken is past recalling

  • Once you have said something, you can't undo the result of having said it.

    • Hilary apologized for having called Mark's suit cheap, but Mark was still offended. A word once spoken is past recalling.

Crossing the Rubicon?? Julius Caesar's return to Rome

  • 4
    Can you give a few more details, such as an example of how you would use this.
    – James K
    May 18, 2019 at 21:42
  • 2
    Hi @Shelly. Welcome to English Language Learners and thanks for your answer. Your answer was flagged by the system because it is so short. Just so you're aware, this community values well thought out answers that help the learner to understand how to use English better. Your answer is at risk of being voted down. I would suggest that you explain more about how 'Crossing the Rubicon' answer's the question. What happened when Julius Ceaser returned to Rome, etc. Remember that questioners don't necessarily have the same cultural background so something that seems obvious to you might not be.
    – dwilli
    May 20, 2019 at 3:32

A couple related idioms:

You can't put the toothpaste back in the tube.

This refers to an action that cannot be undone, such as returning toothpaste squeezed out of a tube back into the tube. Due to the way toothpaste tubes are produced, this cannot be done (or at least is very very difficult).

Letting the cat out of the bag.

This refers to something that was supposed to be kept secret, but was accidently revealed. This could be in reference to something that was supposed to be a surprise, but the recipient of the surprise found out about it. Often this is due to a verbal slip in which too much information was revealed.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .