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Bells On

Posted by Bruce Kahl on November 15, 2004

In Reply to: Re: Pull the other leg / one (it's got bells on)! posted by Lewis on November 15, 2004

: : Hello,

: : 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.

See link for bells on info.