Hindsight is 20/20


What does Hindsight is 20/20 mean?

Hindsight is 20/20 is a popular phrase, stating the fact that everyone is a wise man in hindsight.

The expression references the Snellen chart used for diagnosing eye conditions.

A 20/20 on the Snellen chart is a perfect score, used for deeming the visual acuity of someone unimpaired.


What's the origin of Hindsight is 20/20?

The Snellen chart, which most people recognize today as the rows of letters in varying sizes at the doctor’s office was developed by Herman Snellen in 1862.

“Hindsight is 20/20”, however, didn’t appear as a phrase until a century later, with the earliest documented cases emerging in the late 1950’s, with one of the earliest mentions appearing in a 1959 issue of The Canadian Record.

Spread & Usage

How did Hindsight is 20/20 spread?

Over the years, the expression became a widespread cliché, known by most that every fool is a wise man in hindsight.

“Hindsight is 20/20” was first defined on Urban Dictionary in 2006.

External resources

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