The phrase is easy to use in a wide variety of conversations. One might use it as part of a joke, as a remark about someone else’s actions, their own, or even use it as an insult to someone else’s intelligence. For example, “Can’t you do this? It’s not rocket science.”
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“It’s not rocket science” Meaning
“It’s not rocket science” is a simple English idiom that’s quite popular. It’s used when someone wants to emphasize how something is simpler than one might’ve originally thought or considered it.
It’s possible to use this phrase in different ways. It might emphasize how simple something is or might be used in order to insult someone in regard to how complicated they treated an action or problem. This is explored in more detail below.
The term “rocket science” is used as a way of contrasting something simple against something complicated. It’s elevated as a very complex subject and is often used interchangeably with “brain surgery.”
The phrase “it’s not rocket science” is a common one. Its origins are not widely known though. It’s believed that originated in America because the country was the first to develop a continuous rocket science program. Many of the best-known and well-regarded scientists of all time have contributed something to this discipline. This likely contributes to the public’s consideration of the science as highly technical and hard to understand.
This phrase has fallen in and out of popularity but was commonly used in the late 1900s and has since been on equal footing with the very popular “it’s not brain surgery.”
When To Use “It’s not rocket science”
It’s possible to use “it’s not rocket science” in a wide variety of situations. One might use it among friends, family members, or coworkers. It’s possible to use it humorously, tonelessly, and insultingly depending on how one wants to respond to a situation. For example, someone might exclaim over how many times their friend messes up a task and say, “come on! It’s not rocket science.”
Or, in another situation, someone might barge into a situation they know nothing about and use the phrase with misplaced confidence. It’s also very easy for this phrase to come across as patronizing. Someone might feel as though their intelligence has been insulted when it’s used in regard to something they’re doing or trying to do.
One such situation might occur in an office environment when one employee is trying to accomplish a task they were assigned and is struggling. Another might step it, without permission, and use the phrase. This signals that they feel that they’re superior to their coworker and are in this way, and perhaps all ways, smarter.
- Get yourself together, it’s really not rocket science.
- We struggled at this one thing for hours. Honestly, it’s not rocket science.
- Don’t worry, you’ll master this quickly, it’s not rocket science.
- She got a hang of driving quickly. But, then again, it’s not rocket science.
- It’s not rocket science but we had to reteach him the same thing multiple times.
Why Do Writers Use “It’s not rocket science?”
Writers use “it’s not rocket science” in many different situations. It could be used in a dialogue between two characters or within a narrator’s description of an event or broader scene.
“It’s not rocket science” is commonly used. This means that many readers, if not all readers, are going to know exactly what it means. It can also help a writer make their work feel more realistic. If readers come across a phrase they used in their everyday life, they’re more likely to relate to the dialogue and find it believable. But, at the same time, it’s also possible that idioms, and proverbs, get overused and feel cliché to readers. If this occurs, it’s more likely that the dialogue a writer uses is going to feel unbelievable.
People use “it’s not rocket science” when they want to emphasize how uncomplicated something is in comparison to the science. It’s common to hear if something is simpler but isn’t being treated as simple.
Yes, “it’s not rocket science” is an idiom. It is a phrase that has a different meaning than its words convey on a surface level.
The idiom originated sometime in the mid-to-late 1900s, but its exact origin is unclear. No one knows who the first person to use the phrase was or where it first appeared in print. It was popularized due to the widespread perception that rocket science is incredibly complicated.
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