In The Dark Knight Rises, when Batman shows up on the day of heist in the StockExchange, the anchor in a news channel is speaking the story with a alot of excitement and informs that what appears to be Batman has finally returned after 8 years. Hearing this, Selina Kyle says:

Well, what do you know?

What is it, a soliloquy or a desperate question to the anchor out of the joy/anger she was feeling then?

Also, what does it mean actually? I think, it means that there is more to know about Batman in the coming time although I am not sure about it. Is my interpretation correct here?

  • 1 year too late?
    – Max
    Sep 25, 2013 at 19:53
  • @Tim, Excuse me! I could not get you.
    – Mistu4u
    Oct 1, 2013 at 16:20
  • Didn't the movie come out last year? jk :)
    – Max
    Oct 1, 2013 at 17:24
  • @Tim, That's true and I have seen it several times, just the question did not occur to me earlier :-)
    – Mistu4u
    Oct 1, 2013 at 17:54

2 Answers 2


It's an idiom which means "I wasn't expecting that" but with a stronger sense of surprise. It is not as strong as "Well, I'll be damned."

I might say "Well, what do you know" if I had previously said "this will never happen" but then it happened anyway.

It's generally not a good idea to try to analyse idioms, but sometimes it can help you remember the meaning. If we view "you" in the sentence as the indefinite "you," then it can be read as a reflection on the uncertainty of knowledge.

  • More specifically, it's a surprise at revelation contrary to our general knowledge - that we were wrong. Sometimes it's used ironically (to point out that you are still right and the new information is wrong), but usually - like in this case - it just means a surprise at something that is directly opposite to what we knew.
    – SF.
    Sep 26, 2013 at 8:19

Well whaddaya know! or Whaddaya know about that! is not a question (although it has the form of a question) but an exclamation of surprise and (often) gratification.

It is most often used when some long-desired or-expected event finally occurs: it implies “I knew all along that it would happen / would show up / would prove to be the case”; so even if the event itself is not a desirable one, the phrase has overtones of “I told you so!” and expresses a measure of self-satisfaction.

  • While I don't disagree with this entirely, I also think that there are often times that this expresses simple surprise and doesn't have the flavor of "I knew all along that it would happen." For example, I once lost my car keys on a golf course and actually went back and found them again. "What do you know?" expresses surprise at that minor miracle (given the time I spend in the woods on a golf course, it was indeed a minor miracle) without any sense of confirmation of the expected. On the other hand, it would certainly be something desired, so I'm partially on board with your answer.
    – BobRodes
    Sep 26, 2013 at 14:11
  • @BobRodes I agree, which is why I said "most often used". But I wouldn't give a character the line unless it had the 'knew it all along' color; the preponderance of that use is too much baggage to ask an actor to overcome. ... and, too, your instance certainly has the self-satisfaction element: you persevered in your effort despite the expectation of failure and were rewarded with success. Perhaps one of you was telling the other one "See, I was right: it WAS worth the effort!" :) Sep 26, 2013 at 14:19
  • Perhaps so... :)
    – BobRodes
    Sep 26, 2013 at 15:33
  • Perhaps you'd also say it that like as if you are surprised, in a sarcastic reply to the obvious?
    – user12498
    Dec 5, 2014 at 4:25

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