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Painting the town red

Posted by ESC on January 22, 2000

In Reply to: Paint Town posted by Frankie on January 20, 2000

: Does anyone know the origin of the phrase "Let's paint the town red". I always understood it to mean to go out (as on a weekend night)to town and have fun, get crazy, wild, bar hop or stay out all night....etc.

The "Morris Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins" by William and Mary Morris states: "paint the town red. This colorful term for a wild spree, especially one involving much drinking, probably originated on the frontier. In the nineteenth century the section of town where brothels and saloons were located was known as the 'red light district.' So a group of lusty cowhands out for a night 'on the town' might very well take it into their heads to make the whole town red."