Posted by ESC on February 08, 2001
In Reply to: Re: If the shoe fits, wear it- Origin? posted by James Briggs on February 07, 2001
: : What is the origin of this phrase?
: Can't help, except to say that in the UK the saying is 'if the cap fits, wear it'. It's use is clear and I guess it's centuries old.
IF THE SHOE FITS, WEAR IT -- "If my assessment is correct, you must accept it, even if it is unflattering. The original phrase, 'If the cap fits, wear it,' is rarely used in the United States. The U.S. variant first appeared on May 17, 1773, in the 'New York Gazette & Weekly Mercury': 'Why should Mr. Vanderbeck apply a general comparison to himself? Let those whom the shoe fits wear it.' 'If the shoe fits, put it on' is also used. Recent spins on this proverb include 'If the shoe fits, you're lucky' (Malcolm Forbes) and 'If the shoe fits, it isn't on sale.'." From "The Random House Dictionary of Popular Proverbs and Sayings" by Gregory Y. Titelman (Random House, New York, 1996). Most people shorten the proverb to "If the shoe fits." Then there's the comic/obscene version: "If the foo sh*ts."
See also: the meaning and origin of 'If the shoe fits'.