If I remember all the sources from the past, the phrase 'rest is history' always talks about the positive results. Is there any way that this phrase is used for the negative results or in that sense, does this phrase has any negativity?

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    The rest is history is neutral. This is shown by the Cambridge Dictionary entry linked to by Maulik V. Whether the well known events are positive or negative are up to the reader. For instance, whether what happened after the Beatles had their first hit record is positive, neutral, or negative is up to the reader.
    – user6951
    Apr 7, 2015 at 10:59
  • @δοῦλος the question is whether we have any instances using the phrase negatively? In most of the examples, it's positive only.
    – Maulik V
    Apr 7, 2015 at 11:05
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    An example of a negative usage is In 1492 Columbus "discovered" the so-called new world and the rest is history, when I follow that statement with 999 reasons how and why this 'history' has been negative.
    – user6951
    Apr 7, 2015 at 11:20
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    "The rest is history" is a somewhat jaunty phrase, and people tend to reserve their jauntiness for situations where it would not be inappropriate. So the preponderance of uses is in relatively happy contexts.
    – TimR
    Apr 8, 2015 at 12:26
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    I'm not sure where the perception that TRIH is in any way positive. It is 100% neutral. "Princip assassinated Archduke Ferdinand; Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia; France declared war on AH; The powder keg was lit, and the rest, as they say, is history." Not much positive there.
    – EllieK
    Jul 19, 2016 at 15:07

1 Answer 1


It's strange but true. Even I think of all the instances I read and remember that most of the times, if not every time, 'rest is history' talks about the positive things.

But then, actually it is meant to say that 'something is known there after'. Cambridge dictionary has an entry for this.

the rest is history: everything that happened since then is well known.

Hey, check that...there too it is positive! A good question (+1)

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    There is absolutely nothing in the phrase "the rest is history" which infers anything positive or negative. Positivity/negativity would be inferred by whatever preceded "the rest". Since you can't think of any examples, here's one. "Hitler invaded Poland in 1939. The rest is history".
    – Billy Kerr
    Mar 8, 2022 at 10:09
  • I think there's at least as slight tendency to switch to ...and you/we all know what happened next for contexts where things didn't work out so well. Nov 23, 2022 at 12:14

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