Posted by Stephen Davey on January 05, 2002
In Reply to: Do it up brown posted by ESC on January 04, 2002
: : : Looking for the meaning/derivation of this phrase. Heard it in the context of, "Let's go out on the town and do it up brown."
: : Your phrase means "with extra emphasis" as in "He was the guest of honor at a genuine, honest-to-goodness, do-it-up-brown birthday party."
: : There was also a mid-fifties Country and Western song entitled
"Let's Do It Up Brown":
: : "Now powder your nose and straighten your hose, let's paint the town and do it up brown"
: : I dont know the origin.
: Looks like there are two meanings of the phrase and the origin has to do with browning meat.
: DO UP BROWN - 1. To swindle, victimize, trounce, or defeat (someone) thoroughly. 1824 in Partridge. He is said to be "cooked," or "done brown" and "dished." 2. To do (something) thoroughly, excellently, or perfectly. 1843 in G. W. Harris "High Times" 29: Those are places where things are done up brown! From "Random House Historical Dictionary of American Slang, Volume 1, A-G" by J.E. Lighter, Random House, New York, 1994.
: DO IT UP BROWN - "Do something well; do it to one's satisfaction. In England the phrase has had the meaning of deceive or take in. Either way, it carries the implication of doing something thoroughly and probably comes from the roasting of meat, yielding a brown color that is the result of thorough cooking. One can see the term in the making in 'Liber Cure Cocorum' " 'Lay hur (the goose) to frye and rost hyr browne.'" From the "Dictionary of Cliches" by James Rogers (Ballantine Books, New York, 1985).
::Thanks to both of you for the information. I found another site that also has a good explaination--http://www.m-w.com/mw/mw/wftw/98sep/090498.htm. I heard the phrase in movie "Arsenic and Old Lace", which is a classic. Again, thanks for the info.