It is what it is. “It is what it is” is an idiom. “It is what it is” is a phrase. What exactly it is—in this case—is a tautology. It always is what it is.
A tautology can be trite. A tautology can be clichéd. A tautology can be boring. But a tautology can never be wrong.
It is kind of funny considering how often “it is what it is” is used to describe a situation that has, in fact, gone terribly wrong. So wrong that there is nothing more that can be done about it. There is nothing to do, except utter the phrase “It is what it is”.
It is what it is. Yes, you’re right. I mean, how can it not be? That is the only thing we know for sure.
We may not know what exactly it is. We may not know if it will always exist. When it is here, though, right in front of your eyes, you can plainly see that it definitely, without a doubt, is what it is. Whatever that is.
You looked at me. I asked you what the name was of the fragrance you were wearing. “Manhattan,” you said. “Of course it is,” I said.
Manhattan is Manhattan. Streets are streets. Necks are necks. Love is love.
Everything I’m saying now is true. Despite all of this, I don’t believe that “it is what it is.” Or at least I don’t always believe that it’s true. Even though it is technically always true, I think, in some cases, it is what it isn’t. I mean, I think, in our case, it was what it wasn’t.