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Re: See a man about a dog

Posted by Antiquary on May 10, 2006

In Reply to: See a man about a dog posted by ahmed ali on May 10, 2006

: got to see a man about a dog- there are a few different meanings behind it, but isnt it derived from early cockney slang- gotta see a man about a dog... 'gotta go to the bog' ? (just like dustbin lids is meant for 'kids' etc)

That's ingenious, but I don't think I agree. OED finds the expression 'see a man about a dog' first used in an 1860s melodrama by the Irish-American playwright Dion Boucicault, who doesn't seem a very likely user of Cockney rhyming slang. Eric Partridge in his 'Dictionary of Historical Slang' defines it as meaning to urinate, but also as meaning to have a drink, and (as he primly puts it) 'to visit a woman sexually'.