I'm trying to find an idiom to describe a field that has been "explored head-to-toe". For example, in Arabic we say "researched to death", but that's the literal translation and it doesn't carry over the original Arabic meaning. Is there an English equivalent?

  • If you want a neutral tone and it's in a science context: well understood. Jan 5, 2022 at 1:35

4 Answers 4


The adverbial expression to death can be used with many verbs:

That topic has been researched/explored to death.

to death

Beyond endurance : EXCESSIVELY m-w

...a SASI official complained that the Kruipers were being researched to death; why not find another set of subjects? Keyan Tomaselli; Where Global Contradictions are Sharpest (2005)

Ending Violence Association of B.C.; Researched to Death: B.C. Aboriginal Women and Violence, Final Report (2005)

Being “researched to death” is both metaphor and reality for many indigenous communities.... Arlene Stiffman; The Field Research Survival Guide (2009)

All that's been explored to death, anyway. Kevin Law; Streets of Youth (2010)

I was listening to your show on the Internet one night and I figured there must be a variety of supernatural myths a writer can tackle that haven't been explored to death, so I hit the library and started researching. Alan Draven; Nocturnal Offerings (2013)

Instead of receiving medical help for these needs, communities are literally being studied to death. U.S. Congress; The Superfund Reform_Act of 1994


The idiom that first comes to my mind is "six ways to Sunday". In most situations it's equivalent to saying "... to death" but it I feel it's more suitable for the context in which something has been done in all possible ways, rather than simply done too many times.

There is some variation in the phrasing. It's not uncommon to use a number other than six, and some people say "from Sunday" instead of "to Sunday", but "six ways to Sunday" is the form I've heard most often.

I couldn't find a commonly accepted, literal meaning of this idiom. Personally, I believe one is literally saying that something has been done as many different ways as there are days in the week, not counting Sunday because that's the "day of rest" (given as the reason to stop doing the action)


That field has been researched to the N-th degree already!

Quoting collinsdictionary.com :

If something is done to the nth degree, it is done to an extreme degree.
Ned and I discussed everything to the nth degree. You're a risk-taker to the nth degree.

  • The field has been researched with no stone left unturned.
  • The field has been researched well and truly/in all kinds and ways/lock, stock and barrel.
  • The field has been dug backward and forward.
  • They did one hell of a research job in this field.
  • They went the whole hog researching this field.

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