I am looking for an expression (proverb / idiom) meaning "pulling out something from the past" in disapproval.

An example of this would be: somebody mentioning a thing of the past, which is not relevant anymore. Do we have a proverb / idiom with this meaning?

  • I find this unintelligible. Do you have a friend who speaks English and can rephrase this so it makes sense? Apr 1, 2013 at 6:10
  • Hello Mr. Landesberg: I have tried to rephrase the question. Have I made it better?
    – eeerahul
    Apr 1, 2013 at 6:15
  • 1
    @JohnM.Landsberg - I think he means to say that someone pulls "something" out from the past to quote in a conversation or otherwise but that "something" doesn't hold any relevance in the present or in the context. Sort of a meaningless anecdote.
    – Mohit
    Apr 1, 2013 at 6:22
  • 1
    Mr. Landesberg, you are correct.
    – eeerahul
    Apr 1, 2013 at 6:33
  • 2
    Mr. Landesberg was a talented comedian and actor, first name of Steve, who unfortunately passed away in 2010. I'm Landsberg (without the first "e"), my good fellow, but John will do. ;) Apr 1, 2013 at 21:45

5 Answers 5


The only things that spring to mind are these:

"That's a dead issue."


"I thought that was dead and buried."


"Stop beating a dead horse," or, "You're just beating a dead horse."

Somewhat related to this might be:

"That was old when Moses was a boy."

  • Rekindle the past. Jul 15, 2015 at 1:25

One might say the person is "Digging up bones" or "Raking up the past" or failing to "let it die".


ˌdredge something​ˈup

(usually disapproving) to mention something that has been forgotten, especially something unpleasant or embarrassing

The papers keep trying to dredge up details of his past love life.

Dredge up the past is a common expression

If you're set on an idiom, try:

reˌopen old ˈwounds

to remind somebody of something unpleasant that happened or existed in the past

His comments have served only to reopen old wounds.

(Oxford ALD)


Some other suggestions, which might suit according to different contexts:

Don't drag that up again / He's always dragging that up.


That's old hat.


Stop raking over stuff.


“Whoever forgives an offense seeks love, but whoever keeps bringing up the issue separates the closest of friends.“ -Proverbs17:9

  • Well, yeah, that is a proverb, but in its entirety, and having a different meaning.
    – Joachim
    May 18, 2020 at 21:19

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