There was the following sentence in Time magazine’s article titled, “Serena Williams and the theater of public apology” being followed by the strap, “Her recent spat-with-followed-by-olive-branch-to Maria Sharapova was prudent but also pointless.”- http://ideas.time.com/2013/06/24/serena-williams-and-the-theater-of-public-apology/#ixzz2XD3sXGXt

Onetime tennis champion John McEnroe pulls Serena Williams aside to tell her that he thinks she got screwed by a bad call during Samantha Stosur’s upset of Williams at the 2011 U.S. Open final. “I think you got screwed,” we hear him say. - -

“Why do I have to apologize?” we hear Williams ask McEnroe, after he tells her she’s “the best thing we have in tennis.” “I’m tired of apologizing. For something that’s not even like…I kinda feel, I just have people picking on me. I’m done.”

I can’t find the meaning of "I am done." in English dictionaries at hand, but there are several English language sites carrying the meaning of the phrase:

Wordreference. com. defines "I am done," means I have finished some task or activity.

wiki.answers.com defines it means “I have finished” and “I am exhausted (e.g. from work),” as the slang usage.

answers.yahoo. com. defines the phrase means "the person speaking has completed a task --has finished a meal --has read a whole book, article, or other work --has nothing more to do.

However, it doesn’t seem to me that William meant she completed her task at all in this specific occasion, but she said she was sick and tired of being picked on, gossiped about each of her utterances by people.

Here are my questions:

  1. What is really meant by her “I’m done.”?
  2. Does the expression have many shades of connotation other than “I finished my task”?


Is “spat-with-followed-by-olive-branch,” which I think a fancy expression a popular idiom or set of word?

  • "I am exhausted and finished (do not want any more to do with) with this thing"
    – mplungjan
    Commented Jun 25, 2013 at 8:33
  • "I've had a bellyful." Commented Jun 25, 2013 at 8:41
  • As for “spat-with-followed-by-olive-branch,” as you probably know, the phrase olive branch is often used as a metaphor for "peace offering," or, a request to end hostilities. But this is the first time I've seen it hooked up with "spat-with-followed-by-". The whole thing strikes me as wordy and awkward, and I'd recommend avoiding it.
    – J.R.
    Commented Jun 25, 2013 at 12:14
  • It would be more consistent with this site's guidelines to ask one question per post. It creates various problems: such as when several separate questions are raised, it is difficult to identify a good answer.
    – MetaEd
    Commented Jul 1, 2013 at 4:49
  • possible duplicate of "I'm done" or "I've done"
    – Andrew Leach
    Commented Jul 1, 2013 at 6:02

2 Answers 2


She is done (finished) apologising, and she's done (finished) listening to people who she regards as picking on her.

"I am done" is used, in this instance, in an exasperated manner. Ms. Williams is tired of having to apologise, she wants to stop doing it.

So, the phrase has three normal, informal uses:

  1. To indicate that someone has finished a task.
  2. To indicate that someone gives up out of frustration.
  3. To indicate that someone isn't going to do something anymore, probably out of frustration.

Serena William's statement is an example of the third.

An example of the first could be "I'm done with the dishes." meaning that you've finished cleaning the dishes. Alternatively if a waiter aproaches you and asked "Are you done?" they're asking if you've finished eating (or drinking).

An example of the second could be if you're in an argument with a particularly obstinate person and you don't want to argue with them any more. You announce "I'm done." and walk away from them.


I am exhausted and finished (do not want any more to do with) with this thing


I have had it with this

I have never heard the second expression, but it is General Reference too:

Spat with: To engage in a brief quarrel.
followed by olive branch: an offer of reconciliation.

  • 1
    I think "I've had it with this" is an excellent paraphrase in this context. When used in this exasperated way, it's usually pronounced with a heavy emphasis on had: "I've had it with this!"
    – J.R.
    Commented Jun 25, 2013 at 12:10

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.