Why do we have to add the "and ever"?

Does this phrase have some good old story of its origins?

  • 1
    We add "and ever" for emphasis. It is the same technique of repeating that has us saying "it grew bigger and bigger" or "he said it over and over again". Commented Sep 27, 2018 at 0:39

2 Answers 2


According to the OED, it dates back to the 1526 Tyndale Bible, listing 1 Timothy 1:17. However, it also occurs in other parts of that bible. Here's a list:

So then vnto god, kynge everlastynge, immortall, invisible, and wyse only, be honoure and prayse for ever and ever.
1 Timothy 1:17

And the Lorde shall delivre me from all evyll doynge and shall kepe me vnto his hevenly kyngdome. To who be prayse for ever and ever. Amen.
2 Timothy 2:18

Grace be with you and peace from God the father and from oure Lorde Iesus Christ which gave him selfe for oure synnes to deliver vs from this present evyll worlde thorow the will of God oure father to whom be prayse for ever and ever. Amen.
Galatians 1:3-5

And when those beestes gave glory and honour and thankes to him that sat on the seate which lyveth for ever and ever
Revelations 4:9

"Forever and ever" is one translation of "εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας τῶν αἰώνων", which is more literally translated as "into the age of the ages". See here for more info.

By repeating an element (sometimes going further and adding more "and ever"s), it adds emphasis.

  • This page lists 5 occurrences of “forever and ever” in the Bible: (1) Exodus 15:18: "The LORD shall reign forever and ever." (2) Psalm 10:16: The LORD is King forever and ever; Nations have perished from His land. (3) Revelation 11:15: "The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever."  (4) 1 Timothy 1:17: Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen. (5) 1 Peter 5:11: To Him be dominion forever and ever. Amen. Commented Sep 27, 2018 at 3:12
  • I don’t know which translation they’re quoting from,  and I’m not really acquainted with the chronology of the various translations. Commented Sep 27, 2018 at 3:12
  • @Scott Well, I'm not a bible scholar either, but I found a few more examples from what I think is the same version of the Tyndale Bible (all via a very awesome Google search). See edit. (Also note that the Tyndale Bible only includes like 6 Old Testament books.)
    – Laurel
    Commented Sep 27, 2018 at 3:40

forever and ever and forever and a day TFD forever.

As in:

I will love you forever and ever. (emphatic repetition!)

It is an English idiom ( a manner of speaking that is natural to native speakers of a language ).

I know of no particular 'story' of its origins.

  • In what way is it an idiom? The meaning is easily established from the words used. Commented Sep 27, 2018 at 0:40
  • 'cause the dictionary says it is an idiom!?
    – lbf
    Commented Sep 27, 2018 at 0:57
  • Which dictionary is that? No dictionary I have access to says it is an idiom, and an idiom is pretty much defined as a phrase whose meaning cannot be deduced from the words uses (non-compositional in jargon), as in ‘kicked the bucket’ = dead. Commented Sep 27, 2018 at 9:03
  • The Free Dictionary
    – lbf
    Commented Sep 27, 2018 at 13:24

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