"I'm just sorry that she had to be your fortune cookie - broken, so that you can learn something you already should have known."

closed as unclear what you're asking by Robusto, anongoodnurse, Elian, tchrist, aedia λ Jun 2 '14 at 17:42

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  • It's not possible to understand most quotes without the original context, can you provide a link or reference to where the quote is used ? – Frank Jun 2 '14 at 10:57
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    This question appears to be off-topic because it is not clear what is being asked. – Robusto Jun 2 '14 at 10:59
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    It's very obvious what it means; no more context is needed. You break-open a fortune cookie to get the information iside. Figuratively, the other person was "broken" (hurt badly, probably romantically) so that the person could learn something. – Fattie Jun 2 '14 at 12:16
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    "It is not clear what is being asked" ... "What is the meaning of this quote?" Heh! what's up with you two today? :) – Fattie Jun 2 '14 at 12:18
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    @JoeBlow Sorry Joe, You've got my figurative meaning wrong, my 'fortune cookie' is a virgin (girl), only one person can open them, even though many can 'read the message' afterwards. I thought it was a little presumptuous of me to assume that was the only meaning, hence the clarification request. – Frank Jun 2 '14 at 17:20

This question is borderline General Reference, but I’ll go ahead and answer it because it does contain some not-entirely-straightforward metaphor.


A fortune cookie is a small, hollow type of pastry that has a small slip of paper inside, with some kind of generic good advice written on it. Fortune cookies are usually given to guests at Chinese restaurants after they have finished their meal; the advice they contain is usually quite banal and expresses things that people generally know already (“Don’t let adversity get you down”, “The grass is always greener on the other side”, etc.—silly little things).

In order to read the advice given in the cookie, you have to break the cookie apart (and then eat it, of course).

In your quote, a woman (‘she’) is being compared to a fortune cookie. I am going to presume that this is a quote spoken to someone who has just gone through a break-up with this woman. The woman was hurt (‘broken’) in the process, and the person who broke up with her has learnt something from the break-up that they should have known all along (perhaps that they never really loved her or something like that).

The metaphor is thus that the woman ended up being broken apart by ‘you’, and the only thing ‘you’ got out of it was a slip of paper that told him something he probably knew all along, or at least should have known all along—just like when you break open a fortune cookie. The play on words that when a fortune cookie is broken, it is broken physically, whereas (presumably) this woman is instead heartbroken—a different meaning of the word broken.

  • Dude would that be "learned" or "learnt"? Para 3e. – Fattie Jun 2 '14 at 12:19
  • @Joe Erm, either, depending on preference (mine is for learnt) … Not sure what you mean here? 3e? – Janus Bahs Jacquet Jun 2 '14 at 12:28
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    And they are given to "guests" at Chinese restaurants mainly in the US, although the idea has spread. The fortune cookie was invented in California. – andy256 Jun 2 '14 at 12:42

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