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that's all she wrote



Origins Unknown; circa 1940s; thought to be a reference to Dear John letters. Ernest Tubb recorded a song entitled That's All She Wrote (sheet music published in 1942). Earlier printed references exist (e.g. The Brownsville Herald, June 1935).


that’s all she wrote

  1. (idiomatic, US) Indicating an abrupt termination of a project, or of one’s hopes or plans.
    • 1951, Jackie Brenston, “My Real Gone Rocket” (song):
      If you see a long yellow streak of all fine smoke / That’s my rocket pulling out, that’s all she wrote / []
    • 1951, Hank Williams, “Dear John” (song):
      There was a note upon my door... I won’t be back no more / That’s all she wrote, “Dear John”.
    • 1963, Johnny Cash, “Jackson” (song):
      [] Goodbye — that’s all she wrote.
    • 1980, Bruce Springsteen, “The River” (song):
      Then I got Mary pregnant and man that was all she wrote.
      And for my nineteenth birthday I got a union card and a wedding coat
    • 1987, Deep Purple, “Black And White” (song):
      Inside information taken down note by note / A silent footstep that’s all she wrote.
    • 1990, Firehouse, “All She Wrote” (song):
      Bye bye, baby, bye-bye, she said in a letter. And that was all she wrote.
    • 2004, Gaither Vocal Band, “I Catch ’Em, God Cleans ’Em” (song):
      He said a prayer, and that was all she wrote.
    • 2004, Michael Graves, A+ Guide to PC Hardware Maintenance & Repair, page 525:
      I get five short beeps when the machine starts to boot, and then that's all she wrote []