Does "this is it," mean "this is the end?" How is this possible?

  • There is also "that is that" or "that's that", meaning "I am finished". And "that's it", meaning "I have reached my limit of patience." ...both of which could also refer to other peoples' work/patience. – JeffSahol Jun 20 '11 at 15:01

This is it usually means this is what we've been waiting for, or in other words, this is the thing that have been mentioned in the past and was about to happen some time in the future, which is now.

Imagine you are currently having your school leaving exams, you've already written all the papers and you're waiting for the results. Your schoolmate will say:

Well, this is it. Let's see how successful we were.

Therefore, it may be said when a certain thing ends, but it doesn't necessarily expresses an end.

For example, imagine you have hired a painter to paint your house and you've been waiting for 2 months for him to come. On the day of his arrival, moments before he comes, your wife may say:

Well, this is it. Let's see how good this guy is.

  • What if it's something that you're not waiting for, but you know it's going to happen? – language hacker Jun 20 '11 at 10:32
  • I take it as "We have arrived at what we were expecting/awaiting/fearing" – Colin Fine Jun 20 '11 at 11:46
  • @language hacker: for example death? sure! you're not waiting for it, but it's inevitable. You can say, "well, this is it, my son, this is how we part ways" on your death bed, for example. – RiMMER Jun 20 '11 at 15:32

It depends on where you use it. It could mean, "This is the limit." as in:

This is it. He's not going to get away this time.

Or it could mean, "this is what we have been waiting for." as in:

Jon, the mail's come!/This is it! I need this!


It is actually quite simple

This is it.

"This", as in this that you perceive and you are aware of, "is it", where "it" is a third person pronoun, refers to some "it" that is already known to the writer and the reader or the talker and listener (something that was discussed or agreed upon earlier or something that is clear from context).

In another words, the key is it and the fact that that it is equal to this that we have, see, experience. It denotes that that it does not extend beyond this - in this way it is associated with the end.

Taking RiMMER's examples - the it is waiting for the results and waiting for the painter; in both cases the statement means the wait is over (it ends) or about to finish.

You can also say "Is this/that it?" if you are not satisfied with how someone finished some task: Is this (that is in front of us) it (the it that we agreed and shook hands on)?

Without any previous context the statement "This is it" is mostly used in movies as famous, but faux, last sentence - referring to a very general "it" - life itself. (It is faux because you rarely see a story where someone actually dies after they said "This is it, we are about to die.")

  • 1
    This is an unhelpful answer. What is correct is irrelevant, and what is relevant is not correct. The question is clearly not about the general meaning of "This is it", where "it" identifies something already established. It is talking about the idiom "This is it", meaning "We have arrived at the point we expected/awaited/feared". There's nothing about "life itself" in it. – Colin Fine Jun 20 '11 at 11:45
  • @Colin Fine, I believe that the expression is not really idiomatic (as in special phrase with figurative meaning; although it can and might be used as such). In this light I ask you to re-read the answer again (especially on the point of implied it; regarding your comment on my last *example*(!) I went on the tangent there, might substantiate it or remove it.) – Unreason Jun 20 '11 at 12:21
  • 1
    @Unreason: "This is it" is very much an idiom. It also has literal meanings, but the OP made it very clear that he was talking about the idiom. – user1579 Jun 20 '11 at 13:16
  • @Rhodri, let's call it a phrase for now. Could you give me an example for the phrase "this is it" where idiomatic, figurative meaning can not be explained with literal meaning of the words used (in the way I describe)? – Unreason Jun 20 '11 at 13:27
  • The example you give, "This is it, we're all going to die," does not fit your explanation at all well. It's telling that you consider it "faux" but not idiomatic. – user1579 Jun 20 '11 at 13:34

I think the other answers have done a good job of discussing this is it. Let me comment that a very similar expression,

That's it.

can indeed mean "this is the end." or "that is all there is."

In the idiom this is it, the word this can refer to what is about to happen, while in that's it, the word that can refer to what just happened. So that's it can mean it's over, or paraphrasing, this is the end.


enter image description here

How about This is it in this context, is this implied that we missed him so much and see his performance for a once more after he has passed away so they use this name for this movie ?

  • Better post this as a new, related question to this one, as it is, for sure, not an answer :) – Unreason Jun 21 '11 at 13:16
  • +1 This may not be an answer in the class of "Ah! This is it", but it's insightful, does contribute to the thought process and is well set out. – Kris Oct 6 '12 at 11:47
  • One thing that motivated me to ask for the meaning of the idiom||phrase "this is it" is exactly that I couldn't understand what this title is precisely about, and how is that connected to other usages. Could you provide an explanation for this insight-candidate? – n611x007 Jan 31 '13 at 0:21

The dictionaries actually have entries that explains this meaning

World English Dictionary >

6) informal ( used as complement with be ) the crucial or ultimate point: the steering failed and I thought that was it

American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language >

5) Used to refer to a crucial situation or culmination:
This is it - the rivals are finally face to face.
That's it! I won't tolerate any more foolishness.

Crucial situation, ultimate point and culmination can all refer to "this is the end (of something)", QED.


Last stage of the universal truth.

  • 3
    Yes. However, you need to cite references. Also, explain briefly. – Kris Oct 6 '12 at 11:48
  • Well... I thought that any last stage like this is hidden "everywhere". On the other hand, this site is for making the implicit explicit, so could you provide some explanation? – n611x007 Jan 31 '13 at 0:25

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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