Someone, say an author or movie writer, keeps repeating the old story, or old style.

In Chinese, there is a saying called "fried cold rice", meaning to dish up the old food. Is there any similar idiom in English?

6 Answers 6


Not an idiom, but a word commonly used to describe this is "rehash". From American Heritage via TFD:

tr.v. re·hashed, re·hash·ing, re·hash·es

  1. To bring forth again in another form without significant alteration: a book that rehashes old ideas.
  2. To discuss (the details of a past event).

n. (rē′hăsh′) The act or result of rehashing: a rehash of an old plot.

So one can "rehash old material", which means repeating the same things with minor changes. Or, relating to your idiom, you could say that yesterday's rice was rehashed as today's meal.

  • 1
    +1. You'll find hash on the menu.
    – TRomano
    Feb 21, 2019 at 12:43

like a broken record

used to say that someone keeps saying the same thing over and over again

I feel like a broken record but I can't stop talking about the loss.

He sounds like a broken record.



I've seen "old wine in a new bottle" used in this sense.


old wine in a new bottle

An existing concept or institution offered as though it were a new one.


"Same old story" does the trick.


Here are a few more:

  1. Try "go into a song and dance (about something)" https://idioms.thefreedictionary.com

def: to start repeating excuses or stories about something

Example 1: Karen goes into a song and dance about all the problems with her house every time we visit.

"song and dance" give the impression it's going to be a song, then a dance, or things are going to take awhile before this person stops talking or telling their story. Something might be upsetting the speaker, too. This may cause the speaker to be irritable, and for them to make excuses. Re-tell the story over and over, stressing different points or retelling the story from different angles while you wait for them to end, while turning into a skeleton.

  1. You can also try "wax on." https://www.thefreedictionary.com/wax+on

def: To speak or write at length about something

Exposition: - "wax," as a transitive verb, is "to become larger, more powerful, etc."

Example 1: My Grandmother waxes on about the good, old days and won't let up.

[She keeps talking on and on, with ever greater intensity, the same things over and over, and because she waxes on, after she's done, she starts all over again.]

The person may be irritable, and go from irritated to worse while they wax on; or, get happy at the opportunity to wax on, and stay happy, or get even more intensely happy. So, wax on also affects the speaker's mood, which ever mood the story they wax on about puts them in. It has this steady growing in intensity about it as well as the speaker waxes on and repeats many points of the story, if they feel you didn't get the point.

Example 2: Some North American speakers add "incessantly" [an adverb: def. "without interuption; constantly..." ref. www.merriam-webster.com.

Harry will wax on incessantly if you start him talking about fishing.

[Harry will tell you everything he knows about fishing, and keep talking about it, telling you all his old fishing stories, even if you come the next day and ask about fishing, he'll start up all over again about fishing once again.]

The study of Haptics, Oculesics, and Kinesics coupled with Expectations Violations Theory are outside the purview of a linguistic basedwebsite; but all of human languages have these intricately woven in and enculturated, and none more so with the English language.

Explore witty quips or retorts.

  1. Fred, that is a really great story. I’ve heard it so many times now I could tell it myself.
  2. I've heard this one a 1000 times.

I'll stop here.


I immediately thought of the same old same old:

[Cambridge Dictionary]

used to say that a situation or someone's behaviour remains the same, especially when it is boring or annoying:

Most people just keep on doing the same old same old every day.

From your question, with your use of keep, it at least sounds like you're talking about something that's repetitive to the point of being boring or unexciting.

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