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Re: Suit Yourself

Posted by R. Berg on May 20, 2004

In Reply to: Re: Suit Yourself posted by alex on May 20, 2004

: : : What's going on with the phrase suit yourself? I recently said it to a co-worker of mine, and she was apparently feeling a bit saucy because she decided to throw it back in my face, and thus asked me to really ponder the meaning of this undefinable expression.

: : : Well, I came up with it literally meaning: Hey buddy- grow up, and get dressed your damn self! Or, suit up, without support from another.

: : : Soooo, the question herein lies- how does this translate into the common usage of this phrase? It being roughly- you're missing out!

: : : Any thoughts?

: : Suit is a word with many meanings. In the UK at least this phrase is taken to mean 'Please yourself', i.e. choose the thing that suits (pleases) you.

: Well- You are certainly correct in that being one of the many uses today- but I was looking for something perhaps a bit more historical- The word suit, I'm sure, derives originally from something to do with clothing- and then spawned off into many different meanings.

: "The verb meaning 'be agreeable or convenient' is 1578, probably from the notion of 'provide with a set of new clothes.'" -from http://www.etymonline.com/s13etym.htm

: Not sure if this is too late a time period for this word...

The first recorded uses for the meanings "provide with clothes" and "be agreeable" are almost at the same time: 1577 and 1578 (OED, 1st ed.). When suits typically came from tailors and were custom fitted, they were made "to suit," after taking measurements.