Posted by Lewis on November 15, 2004
In Reply to: Pull the other leg / one (it's got bells on)! posted by Leslie on November 15, 2004
: I know this idiom but I don't know what the latter part--'it's got bells on' means. Any idea of its origin? Thanks a lot!
There has been quite a lot of discussion on the leg-pulling theme. Some of the discussion involved people being hanged. It is the case that hanging can be drawn out and unpleasant - so the condemned man would often pay for the hangman or somebody to pull down on the legs to ensure a quick death. that causes an association between pulling legs and money.
somebody said that sometimes children would pull the legs in the hope of coins falling out of pockets. to tell a person to 'pull the other one' is to tell them to have another go - they might be luckier next time. if a pocket has coins it will jingle, as a bell would.
it is used as an expression of disbelief.