To have experienced the topic under discussion, to the point of boredom or complacency.


This phrase began life in the early 1970s, in the short form 'been there', which had the same meaning as 'been there, done that'.

Source: The Phrase Finder

We all have heard the phrase 'been there, done that' quite often on American sitcom shows. But obviously, this phrase sounds rather informal and necessitates a careful application. So, it may not be appropriate to use it in certain situations.

Is there an alternative phrase that sounds less laid-back but hits the nail at the same time?

  • 4
    Can we please stop beating this dead horse?
    – user21497
    Commented Jan 1, 2013 at 13:43
  • @Bill Franke: I think you're trying to breathe life into a corpse with that one! Commented Jan 1, 2013 at 13:53
  • @Bill: I know, right? I have experienced the same thing.
    – Mitch
    Commented Jan 1, 2013 at 14:11
  • @F: At least I'm not trying to give the horse CPR!
    – user21497
    Commented Jan 1, 2013 at 14:55
  • @M: Yeah, same old same old.
    – user21497
    Commented Jan 1, 2013 at 14:55

8 Answers 8


Though not as informal as "been there, done that, but may be a little antagonistic:

"We've gone over this topic ad nauseam.

Main Entry: ad nau·se·am

Pronunciation: \ad-ˈnȯ-zē-əm also -ˌam\

Function: adverb

Etymology: Latin Date: 1647 : to a sickening or excessive degree

from the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary


"I have experienced the topic under discussion, to the point of boredom or complacency."


Perhaps the French expression, "Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose."

Or "It's the same old story."

  • More often than not, I hear this one as simply ""plus ça change". Being in French adds a "touch of class", so it meets OP's request for a less casual expression (in my area, the more casual version is "Same ole same ole"). Another one (which I think may be more Cockney) is "Give it a rest!" Commented Jan 1, 2013 at 13:58

We've traveled that road before.

  • Yep. I've been to the river and I've been baptized, and I ain't gonna be treated this way. /// I'm a-going down this old dusty road // I'm a-going down this old dusty road // O Lord God // And I ain't gonna be treated this way /// WOODY GUTHRIE - AIN'T GONNA BE TREATED THIS WAY
    – user21497
    Commented Jan 1, 2013 at 15:00

The phrase "been there, done that" is used in different contexts, so no single replacement applies.

  • If you are using it in a broad fashion, the phrase There is nothing new under the sun may fit.
  • You may want to try I [don't] want to revisit that in a business context; rehash as well.
  • I have also heard it used (IMO incorrectly) as a synonym for Veni, vidi, vici (I came, I saw, I conquered). Since you're asking for replacements, I include this option only as a correction; one should not use "Been there, done that" if the intent is specifically to express a successful outcome.

A phrase that fits almost exactly into the definition of 'been there done that' would be déjà vu:

  • (n) deja vu (the experience of thinking that a new situation had occurred before)

  • Déjà vu, from French, literally "already seen", is the phenomenon of having the strong sensation that an event or experience currently being experienced had been experienced in the past.

For an interesting article on how 'Misplaced scene familiarity may provide an explanation for déjà vu other than superstition. The knowledge could also be applied to treatments for the memory-impaired', see "Been There, Done That—or Did I?: Déjà Vu Found to Originate in Similar Scenes" by Charles Q. Choi in the Scientific American

  • Not to mention déjà lu and déjà bu, déjà fait and déjà fou, some of which could be said to better apply here.
    – tchrist
    Commented Jan 2, 2013 at 13:52
  • Ngrams not found: déjà bu, déjà fou -- And, post-1990, deja vu is the only phrase that continues to be dominant. books.google.com/ngrams/…
    – Kris
    Commented Jan 2, 2013 at 13:59

Or, Sarcastically say......There's nothing more fun than reversing over a road kill. (this is generally meant to rudely refer to going back to an ex on last time for a bootie call or quickie.....like...ummm....you ask her....."Do you want a quickie....or the full 30 seconds!??"....i divulge.....just a tad stoned.

  • Welcome to ELU, please support your answer with verifiable references.
    – JJJ
    Commented Jul 27, 2018 at 9:22

I would simply say: "I can relate."

  • 1
    Welcome to the site! Very brief answers such as this one are usually deleted because knowing that one guy would use these words in this situation doesn't really help much. Maybe you've chosen the perfect phrase; maybe it would be a terrible mistake. I think you've actually made a good suggestion but it would help to give more information about it and explain why it's appropriate Commented Sep 4, 2018 at 18:03