Antedating of "Been There, Done That" (UNCLASSIFIED)

Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Thu Oct 9 19:49:37 UTC 2008

On Thu, Oct 9, 2008 at 2:56 PM, Mullins, Bill AMRDEC
<Bill.Mullins at> wrote:
> But what about "BT, DT, bought/got the t-shirt"?
> "Kids will be kids . . . even when they're actors"
> Toronto Star, The (Ontario, Canada) - May 14, 1993 p.C1
> Author: Rita Zekas
> "Been there, done that, bought the T-shirt. "
> "Bickerstaff's job far from complete"
> Mark Kiszla. Denver Post. Denver, Colo.: Apr 23, 1995. pg. B.01
> "But Mutombo has been there, done that, bought the T-shirt."
> "A watery tale of blues, boats and bacon butties - Freud on Friday"
> Times, The (London, England) - March 26, 1993  p. 40
> Author: Clement Freud
> "In the front of the press launch stood photographers carrying huge
> lenses; at the rear, wrapped against the elements, sat the elders,
> knowledgeable men who had been there, done that, got the T-shirts. "

The OED entry for "there' (April 2001 draft additions) has:

1991 Ski Surv. (BNC) Feb., Knee Injuries. Rosemary Burns has been
there, done that and got the T-shirt. She gives fellow sufferers her
sympathy and sound advice.

--Ben Zimmer

The American Dialect Society -

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