For several noders on here, the best words we could hope to expect someday would be, "That's all she wrote." The "she" being the neutered pronoun you new-age languageers are wishing and hoping for. But did you ever wonder where this phrase came from? So did I. Unfortunately, there's no good answer.

William Safire has suggested that it may have come from an amalgamation of American songs concerning either men jilted by their woman, or brides-to-be left standing at the altar. He suggests that these affairs gone wrong were usually ended with a short note, leading the dumpee to look up, tearful, and say, "That's all she wrote." However, no one has been able to pin down the exact song in which this phrase can be found, so this is just theory by Mr. Safire (whose theories are always favorites of mine).

More likely, the phrase comes from World War II. This is probably a direct cousin to the Dear John Letter phenomenon. GI gets letter from sweetheart back home. GI opens letter to find terse words which indicate the end of the relationship. GI looks up at his foxhole buddies and says,

"And that's all she wrote...."

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