That’s a Wrap (Idiom Meaning and Use)

“That’s a wrap” is an idiom used to indicate and announce the completion of something. You often hear it in the entertainment industry. It’s a famous phrase started in Hollywood to denote that the recording of a movie is now over. But, it’s also ideal for other professional situations such as meetings, photoshoots, and other such large projects.

However, it’s not something one would use in regular, daily speech. Although it’s not unheard of, it’s more of an announcement than an exclamation. It has a special ring to it that you should reserve for certain occasions.

The etymology of “That’s a Wrap”

In the 1920s United States, movie directors devised quick words and phrases to indicate a specific direction. This makes things move more efficiently and achieve goals more quickly. “That’s a wrap” developed as a means to say the photography part of the film is complete and it’s now time for post-production.

There is speculation that “wrap” is an acronym for “wind, reel, and print.” While it would make perfect sense, this is highly disputed. Regardless, “that’s a wrap” has stuck with the movie industry and spread out to photoshoots, meetings, or large group projects.

How to Use “That’s a Wrap”

The only time you would use “that’s a wrap” is when you are a director of a movie, photographer of a big photo shoot, or the head of a meeting. This is not something that you want to use in daily speech unless you were intentionally attempting to be comedic or humorous.

When it is Appropriate

When the lights went out and the camera shut off, the director yelled, “That’s a Wrap!”

Simon is the photographer here and it’s his responsibility and obligation to call, “That’s a Wrap!”

That’s a wrap ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for attending this long and arduous meeting.

Awkward or Humorous

The bartender shouted, “That’s a wrap!” at closing time.

“That’s a wrap!” shouted the teacher upon dismissal of her students.

After the shower, I announced, “That’s a wrap!”


“That’s a wrap” is a phrase developed in the early 1920s by movie directors to indicate the initial photography stage of a film finished and it’s ready to go onto post-production. This phrase has stuck and spilled over into photoshoots as well as meetings or other major group projects. But, it’s not for daily use per se.