it is what it is
[it iz wuht it iz]
What does it is what it is mean?
Deal with it. It is what it is is an expression used to characterize a frustrating or challenging situation that a person believes cannot be changed and must just be accepted.
Where does it is what it is come from?
According to the New York Times, the phrase it is what it is appeared as early as an 1949 article by J.E. Lawrence in The Nebraska State Journal. Lawrence used the phrase when describing the difficulty faced during frontier-era life in Nebraska:
“New land is harsh, and vigorous, and sturdy. It scorns evidence of weakness. There is nothing of sham or hypocrisy in it. It is what it is, without apology.”
It is what it is picked up steam in the 21st Century. A 2004 USA Today article by Gary Mihoces, titled “It is what it is,” pointed out that the phrase had become popular in sports about losses. Mihoces cited over a dozen examples of athletes and coaches using the phrase in that year alone.
Need to have that post inspected.
Played em off field but it is what it is. Halftime. No key yellow cards. No away goals conceded. Nothing easy. Never is.
Lets do this in KC #rctid
— Merritt Paulson (@MerrittPaulson) November 26, 2018
It is what it is was noted in politics in 2004, when, according to The New York Times, President George W. Bush responded to an aide telling him his opponent John Kerry was leading the polls with, “It is what it is.”
Besides sports and politics, it is what it is has also seen exhaustive use in business, the military, and psychology. It’s also titled songs and even a 2001 film. Throughout these contexts, it is what it is is used as a kind of verbal shrug signaling resigned acceptance of an unchangeable situation.
Well, politics changes people. So it is what it is.
— Shermichael Singleton (@Shermichael_) June 28, 2019
For those expecting an actual solution rather than the non-solution of it is what it is, the phrase can be especially annoying. In fact, some people really dislike the term for its unhelpful vagueness…
“It is what it is.” Hate the term, and I’m beginning to hate anyone who says it! #Grrr
— LaRhonda (@LaRhondaS) June 13, 2019
Often times, according to critics of it is what it is, the phrase is used as an excuse by people who think the real solution is too difficult or time-consuming…
*Has a test tomorrow.*
Freshman year me: I need to pull an all nighter and cram for this test ASAP!!!
Upperclassmen me: If I don't know it by now, I just don't know it. It is what it is. *Goes to sleep.*
— Brandon Oliver (@BrandonO_510) December 4, 2018
It remains to be seen if the phrase will ever shake it’s defeatist nature but for now, well, it is what it is.
Examples of it is what it is
Who uses it is what it is?
It is what it is remains a popular truism in sports. It is often used to shake off a bad call or lost game and move on.
Reporter: "Were you expecting a penalty on that hit?"
Alvin Kamara: "Did one come out?"
Kamara: "It is what it is. It don’t matter what I was expecting."
— Josh Katzenstein (@jkatzenstein) November 30, 2018
PEP: They played better. Congratulations Chelsea. We played outstanding in the first half.
That is football. At this level, it is what it is.
— Manchester City (@ManCity) December 8, 2018
Elsewhere, it is what it is says that you accept that something just isn’t going to change no matter what you do.
You gotta learn when to just say fuck it, it is what it is 🤷🏾♂️
— 🥶 (@_bdundy) December 9, 2018
And, of course, it’s a common retort when someone poses a question that can’t be answered…
it is what it is. *shrugs*
— k.🦒 (@KealaLanae) July 20, 2019
This is not meant to be a formal definition of it is what it is like most terms we define on Dictionary.com, but is rather an informal word summary that hopefully touches upon the key aspects of the meaning and usage of it is what it is that will help our users expand their word mastery.