Posted by RRC on August 30, 2007
In Reply to: Re: Blowing smoke... posted by Smokey Stover on August 30, 2007
: : : I have always wanted to know how the phrase "blowing smoke",(and for anyone easily offended I will not mention the orifice where it is usually said to be blown) has come to mean complimenting someone. I was happy to find this site, but still, I cannot find this particular phrase. Where in the world did it come from??
: : There have been previous discussions. (Archives: "blow smoke.") Two theories -- from "smoke and mirrors" as in magic/illusion. And from tobacco enemas. Whatever that is. Anybody got any more ideas?
: Blowing smoke up someone's ass is not the only way the expression is used. In fact, I'm certain that I've seen the phrase used when someone blowing smoke is either being deceptive or over-confident, or is talking through his hat, that is, talking confidently of something of which he has no specific knowledge. If I'm correct in this, the smoke would presumably be that of a smoke-screen. When someone predicts something, especially of commercial importance, he may be "just blowing smoke," trying to make himself important or making a statement which should not be believed.
Also, blowing smoke up someone's ass doesn't mean genuinely complementing someone. It has to do with telling someone what they want to hear, whether that be false complements, exaggerations or outright lies usually as a means to an end. A used-car salesman telling you that a broken-down Model-T will do 140 on the highway is blowing smoke up your ass.