phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

Sign on the dotted line...

Posted by Bob on March 20, 2004

In Reply to: Sign on the dotted line... posted by mark on March 20, 2004

: Does anyone here know the origin of "sign on the dotted line"? Is it as obvious as there having been dotted lines on contracts at one time? Just wondering?

Yes, contracts had (and some still have) a dotted line for a signature. Just as often, there is an X to indicate where to sign.

Here's why: the distinctive dotted line, and/or the X (the bigger and redder, the better) draws your eye to where you have been commanded (note the form of the statement) to act.

It's salesmanship. It's meant to distract you from actually reading the contract. When buying a car in the U.S. on credit, for example, you are presented with page after page after page of contracts and financing forms, and people sign and sign and sign, relying on the verbal descriptions, never actually reading them. Knowing this, car dealers are able to load in extra charges and fees and unfavorable interest rates almost every time.

© 1997 – 2024 All rights reserved.