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Meaning:

To have experienced the topic under discussion, to the point of boredom or complacency.

Origin:

This phrase began life in the early 1970s, in the short form 'been there', which had the same meaning as 'been there, done that'.

Source: The Phrase Finder

We all have heard the phrase 'been there, done that' quite often on American sitcom shows. But obviously, this phrase sounds rather informal and necessitates a careful application. So, it may not be appropriate to use it in certain situations.

Is there an alternative phrase that sounds less laid-back but hits the nail at the same time?

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3  
Can we please stop beating this dead horse? –  user21497 Jan 1 '13 at 13:43
    
@Bill Franke: I think you're trying to breathe life into a corpse with that one! –  FumbleFingers Jan 1 '13 at 13:53
    
@Bill: I know, right? I have experienced the same thing. –  Mitch Jan 1 '13 at 14:11
    
@F: At least I'm not trying to give the horse CPR! –  user21497 Jan 1 '13 at 14:55
    
@M: Yeah, same old same old. –  user21497 Jan 1 '13 at 14:55
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6 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Though not as informal as "been there, done that, but may be a little antagonistic:

"We've gone over this topic ad nauseam.

Main Entry: ad nau·se·am

Pronunciation: \ad-ˈnȯ-zē-əm also -ˌam\

Function: adverb

Etymology: Latin Date: 1647 : to a sickening or excessive degree

from the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary

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"I have experienced the topic under discussion, to the point of boredom or complacency."

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Perhaps the French expression, "Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose."

Or "It's the same old story."

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More often than not, I hear this one as simply ""plus ça change". Being in French adds a "touch of class", so it meets OP's request for a less casual expression (in my area, the more casual version is "Same ole same ole"). Another one (which I think may be more Cockney) is "Give it a rest!" –  FumbleFingers Jan 1 '13 at 13:58
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We've traveled that road before.

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Yep. I've been to the river and I've been baptized, and I ain't gonna be treated this way. /// I'm a-going down this old dusty road // I'm a-going down this old dusty road // O Lord God // And I ain't gonna be treated this way /// WOODY GUTHRIE - AIN'T GONNA BE TREATED THIS WAY –  user21497 Jan 1 '13 at 15:00
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The phrase "been there, done that" is used in different contexts, so no single replacement applies.

  • If you are using it in a broad fashion, the phrase There is nothing new under the sun may fit.
  • You may want to try I [don't] want to revisit that in a business context; rehash as well.
  • I have also heard it used (IMO incorrectly) as a synonym for Veni, vidi, vici (I came, I saw, I conquered). Since you're asking for replacements, I include this option only as a correction; one should not use "Been there, done that" if the intent is specifically to express a successful outcome.
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A phrase that fits almost exactly into the definition of 'been there done that' would be déjà vu:

  • (n) deja vu (the experience of thinking that a new situation had occurred before)

  • Déjà vu, from French, literally "already seen", is the phenomenon of having the strong sensation that an event or experience currently being experienced had been experienced in the past.

For an interesting article on how 'Misplaced scene familiarity may provide an explanation for déjà vu other than superstition. The knowledge could also be applied to treatments for the memory-impaired', see "Been There, Done That—or Did I?: Déjà Vu Found to Originate in Similar Scenes" by Charles Q. Choi in the Scientific American

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Not to mention déjà lu and déjà bu, déjà fait and déjà fou, some of which could be said to better apply here. –  tchrist Jan 2 '13 at 13:52
    
Ngrams not found: déjà bu, déjà fou -- And, post-1990, deja vu is the only phrase that continues to be dominant. books.google.com/ngrams/… –  Kris Jan 2 '13 at 13:59
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