The phrase I rest my case is an idiom. An idiom is a word, group of words or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal definition. Often using descriptive imagery, common idioms are words and phrases used in the English language in order to convey a concise idea, and are often spoken or are considered informal or conversational. English idioms can illustrate emotion more quickly than a phrase that has a literal meaning, even when the etymology or origin of the idiomatic expression is lost. An idiom is a metaphorical figure of speech, and it is understood that it is not a use of literal language. Figures of speech have definitions and connotations that go beyond the literal meaning of the words. Mastery of the turn of phrase of an idiom or other parts of speech is essential for the English learner. Many English as a Second Language students do not understand idiomatic expressions such as beat around the bush, cut the mustard, let the cat out of the bag, hit the sack, ankle biter, barking up the wrong tree, kick the bucket, hit the nail on the head, under the weather, piece of cake, when pigs fly, and raining cats and dogs, as they attempt to translate them word for word, which yields only the literal meaning. In addition to learning vocabulary and grammar, one must understand the phrasing of the figurative language of idiomatic phrases in order to know English like a native speaker. We will examine the meaning of the idiom I rest my case, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences.

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I rest my case is a phrase that is used when one feels he has proven his point, that he has presented irrefutable evidence to back up his position. The idiom I rest my case is derived from the practice of law. After a lawyer or legal advocate finishes presenting the facts of his argument in a trial, he is said to “rest”, or he may say, “I rest my case”. Exactly when the phrase I rest my case became an idiom is up for debate, but it is reasonable to assume that the use of the term in radio and television courtroom dramas influenced the everyday use of this phrase. Related phrases are I rested my case and I’m resting my case, though these expressions are not used nearly as often.


Has anyone ever rushed to a scene upon hearing its klaxons? I rest my case. (The Atlantic)

“In the past decade, the city has received 99.97 percent of the tax increases. The school department has gotten less than 1 percent. I rest my case.” (The Warwick Beacon)


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What if those had been mealworms? I rest my case. (The Dallas Observer)

Told that the White House denied being the source of the leak, Pelosi responded, “I rest my case.” (National Public Radio)