In Reply to: Reach around posted by ESC on January 25, 2009 at 13:54:
: Reach around - I've heard this expression twice in a two-day period on TV (United States) and figured it was time to post on Phrase Finder. The meaning is on the Urban Dictionary site -- http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=reach+around Cloris Leachman, speaking at the Bob Saget roast on Comedy Central (I couldn't sleep and that was all that was on.) said she was "giving reach arounds to Jack Benny" before Saget was born. (Which doesn't make sense given the definition.) http://www.comedycentral.com/videos/index.jhtml?videoId=178767&title=cloris-leachman-pt-1 And Stephen Colbert -- The Colbert Report, Comedy Central, Jan. 21, 2008 -- used the expression during an interview of NAACP President Benjamin Todd Jealous. Jealous said people who are successful should "reach back" and help others. Colbert asked if that was like a reach around. Jealous did not laugh. http://www.comedycentral.com/colbertreport/full-episodes/index.jhtml?episodeId=216603
Usually when a reach-around is mentioned the speaker, who is almost always male, is complaining about the absence of same. Tax authorities and traffic cops are often flagged as being inconsiderate in that area.
I agree that the female Cloris Leachman doesn't appear to have used it correctly.