Posted by Brian from Shawnee on October 14, 2004
In Reply to: I thought it was *flag* posted by James Briggs on October 14, 2004
: : : : : : Where does the saying 'like a red rag to a bull' come from?
: : : : : The color red is supposed to enrage bulls. Actually it's probably the waving of the rag that attracts the bull's attention. I believe a bull is suppose to be color blind. Anyone know?
: : : : I heard that too. The capes that matadors use in bullfighting are red and that's where the phrase comes from.
: : : Bulls are certainly colour blind - which can be seen from the structure of their eyes, it is not merely a guess. It is the flapping movement which would attract a bull's attention (though in bull fighting, having had the 'pics' stuck into its shoulders first probably don't improve its temper very much either!)
: : I thought it was "like a red *flag* to a bull". I'd never heard the word "rag" used in this phrase.
: It's rag as far as I'm concerned - I've never heard 'flag.
: Incidentally, a brief newspaper report a week or so ago described what happened when a bull escaped and got into a Scottish china shop. The animal was apparently confused, very quiet and was eventually led away having produced no damage whatsoever!
Truth is stranger than fiction, isn't it? But did you hear about the time the color blind bull got loose at the St. Patrick's Day Parade? Made Pamplona look like a cakewalk!
P.S. 474 Google hits for "like a red flag...", and 974 for "like a red rag...". Rag wins.