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You're not the boss of me!

Posted by ESC on March 21, 2010 at 16:53

"You're not the boss of me" comes from the late 19th century. I could have sworn my niece coined that phrase in the 70s. Excerpt from NPR (National Public Radio) interview (The Word Is Out: A New Voice For 'On Language'-- 19 March 2010) of Ben Zimmer who is the new "On Language" columnist for The New York Times, replacing the late William Safire:

"These days it's possible to do research on these things much more easily than we could before," Zimmer says. "I remember being asked about [the phrase] 'You're not the boss of me.' People might think it comes from the '80s or the '90s, but in fact it's quite old. You can find examples from the late 19th century in very similar situations, like a petulant child complaining about an older sibling."

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=124838584