over and over again: Idiom Meaning and Origin

What does ‘over and over again’ mean?

The idiom "over and over again" means repeatedly doing or experiencing something.

Idiom Explorer

Unceasing Repetition

One related idiom to "over and over again" is "once again." This phrase carries a similar meaning of repetition, emphasizing that something is happening or being done another time. It adds to the sense of recurrence and reinforces the idea of continuous repetition. For example, if someone says, "I told you once again not to leave the door unlocked," it implies that they have already mentioned this before, but it is happening again.

The sound of the waves repeated repeatedly with recurrence.

Another related idiom is "many a time and oft." This phrase also emphasizes repetition and refers to something happening or occurring on many occasions. It is a slightly more formal and old-fashioned way of expressing the concept of doing something repeatedly. For example, if someone says, "I have failed many a time and oft in my attempts to learn the guitar," it implies that they have tried and failed numerous times in their efforts to learn the instrument.

When using the idiom "over and over again," it is important to consider its context and the specific meaning that is being conveyed. Whether it is used synonymously with phrases like "once again" or "many a time and oft," each variation adds its own shade of meaning to the overall message.

Idioms such as "over and over again" are a rich and powerful aspect of the English language. They provide us with a means of expressing repetitive actions or events in a concise and impactful way. When used properly, these idioms can add clarity and depth to our communication. So the next time you find yourself wanting to describe a recurring pattern or emphasize the frequency of something, consider using idiomatic expressions like "over and over again," "once again," or "many a time and oft." They will help you convey your message effectively and engage your audience in a familiar and relatable way.

Example usage


  • He gets up late and makes the same excuse over and over again.
  • I've told her not to touch that, but she does it over and over again.
  • The coach made us practice the drill over and over again until we got it right.


The idiom "over and over again" is used to express the repetition or continuous occurrence of an action or event. It emphasizes the idea of doing something repeatedly or constantly.

In the first example, it shows how someone consistently gives the same excuse repeatedly.

The second example demonstrates how someone repeatedly disobeys a warning or instruction.

The third example illustrates a situation where someone is practicing a specific task repeatedly until they achieve the correct outcome.

More "Repetition" idioms