I'm trying to think of a good idiom/phrase for the process of questioning what you have, tinkering with it and finally returning to what you had at first. Specifically returning accidentally, then thinking "oh that's exactly what I had originally."

Reason - I do this a lot when writing essays, just curious if there's a phrase for it.

  • If it is done over and over again...I have heard the verbed noun "frankensteining" used. Commented Mar 31, 2016 at 23:18
  • 1
    It sounds like "slogging your way back to square one."
    – Sven Yargs
    Commented Mar 31, 2016 at 23:50
  • procrastinating? it's not quite right, but it might work.
    – Brad
    Commented Apr 1, 2016 at 19:56
  • Depends if you feel you've learned something or just wasted time (which would be going round in circles).
    – Stuart F
    Commented Oct 21, 2022 at 14:59

2 Answers 2


I was thinking along the lines of "back to square one" but that doesn't seem quite right as it would imply you are starting again on purpose, whereas you said it's something unintentional. I think "to come full circle" is a bit better for an unintended return. "Oh, it seems I've come full circle with my tinkering!" "They've come full circle with the design of this phone"


Probably the phrase "the first thought is always the best " suggests what you are referring to.

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