Posted by ESC on March 26, 2008 at 16:29:
In Reply to: You're a card posted by Jim Holmes on March 26, 2008 at 15:47:
: Why do we say "you're a card" when someone is being silly or acting up?
Not sure if I understand this. But...
Card -- a witty or eccentric person, a "character." "The Card" is a 1911 novel by Arnold Bennett. "The word is now much less common, but it was formerly often preceded by a stock adjective, such as 'a knowing card,' 'an old card,'..." etc.
"The term itself was perhaps suggested by a phrase such as 'sure card,' meaning a winning card...Alternatively, there may be a pun on Latin 'carduus,' meaning thistle, as an instrument for combing and teasing cloth to raise its nap. The role of a card is similar." From "Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable" revised by Adrian Room (HarperCollinsPublishers, New York, 1999, Sixteenth Edition). Page 231.