all's well that ends well

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Often believed to be from the title of William Shakespeare's play All's Well That Ends Well.

More likely attributed to John Heywood (c. 1497 – c. 1580), who wrote plays for the royal court from the early 1530s onwards, some sixty years before Shakespeare made his way in the Elizabethan theatre. Although his book of proverbs was the first to use this phrasing, it originates even further back.

In 1381, in J. R. Lumby’s Chronicon Henrici Knighton, the line ‘If the ende be wele, than is alle wele.’ seems to be a more likely origin.


all's well that ends well

  1. A happy ending makes up for everything that has gone before.[1]



  1. ^ page 344 in The Oxford Dictionary of Proverbs (2015) by Jennifer Speake