It came from an episode of Big Bang Theory; when Penny gets hurt, and asks Sheldon to be more comforting, he starts the conversation with "there, there."

What does that mean?

  • 2
    The odd thing is that, whereas "there, there" is used as an expression of comfort, "now, now" can be used as a mild remonstrance, and "well, well" and "my, my" to express something equivalent to "how about that?"
    – Sven Yargs
    Commented Nov 1, 2015 at 5:25

3 Answers 3


The Wiktionary explains it in the best way possible:

there, there: (idiomatic) Conveys comfort; used to calm somebody or urge somebody to relax, especially when the person is crying.

There, there. Even though you broke up with her, you'll be fine.

  • 3
    The point of having Sheldon use the phrase is that it doesn't convey comfort. It's a platitude, but he's too socially awkward to come up with anything that might actually help Penny. Commented Nov 30, 2011 at 12:08
  • In the case of Radiohead's song There There, makes sense. Commented Jun 14, 2019 at 21:14

"There, there" is generally a phrase used while consoling someone. It is usually followed with something that might be able to lift the sad person's spirits. It's similar to "now, now."

There, there, it's okay. We can fix your broken toy.


The phrase "there there" you basically use, when you are consoling or trying to console someone (especially a kid ) with "there there" you are insuring the person everything is alright. For example: A kid has lost his favorite toy and starts crying. Mother: " there there....we'll get you a new one"

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