what goes around comes around

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It Shoots Further Than He Dreams by John F. Knott, March 1918.

Alternative forms[edit]


First attested in the 1950s in sense 1, originally in African-American English.


what goes around comes around

  1. A person's actions, whether good or bad, will often have consequences for that person.
  2. Things repeat in cycles.
    • 2005, Michael Stonebraker, Joseph M. Hellerstein, “What Goes Around Comes Around”, in Joseph M. Hellerstein, Michael Stonebraker, editors, Readings in Database Systems, 4th edition, →ISBN, page 2:
      Unfortunately, the main proposal in the current XML era bears a striking resemblance to the CODASYL proposal from the early 1970’s, which failed because of its complexity. Hence, the current era is replaying history, and “what goes around comes around”. Hopefully the next era will be smarter.
    • 2006, Peter-Paul Koch, “Afterword”, in ppk on JavaScript, →ISBN:
      The most important one is the end of the Ajax hype. I’m not sure when it will happen, but I know that it will. What goes around comes around—what once was cool and modern will become old hat and boring.
    • 2015, Tony Levene, Investing for Dummies, 4th edition, →ISBN, page 93:
      Equally, what goes around, comes around. When it comes to investment theories, nothing new under the sun exists because ideas go stale and then get reinvented.


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See also[edit]