phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

Phrases, Sayings and Idioms Home > Discussion Forum

Re: Kilroy was here

Posted by R. Berg on June 04, 2001

In Reply to: Kilroy was here posted by Peter Miller on June 03, 2001

: I believe that this phrase was used by a daring British military scout in the Boer Wars who managed to gain access to the enemy territory and enraged and mystified them by writing the phrase "Kilroy was here" in the most (supposedly) inaccessible locations.

Eric Partridge, "A Dictionary of Catch Phrases American and British," citing H. L. Mencken, "The American Language," and Wentworth and Flexner, "Dictionary of American Slang," says it arose during World War II. Evidence for a Boer War origin would push it back some 40 years.