sadder but wiser

Unhappy but having learned from one's mistakes, as in Sadder but wiser, she's never going near poison ivy again. The pairing of these two adjectives was first recorded in Samuel Coleridge's The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (1798).


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.

Examples from the Web for sadder but wiser

Contemporary Examples of sadder but wiser

  • I even present some statistical evidence for this cycle of unpleasant shocks followed by sadder-but-wiser recoveries.

    The Daily Beast logo
    The End of World Violence?

    Sam Harris

    October 4, 2011