Pulling my leg

Posted by ESC on November 12, 1999

In Reply to: Pulling my leg posted by Kagan on November 12, 1999

: Does anyone know the origin of "you're pulling my leg"?

"pull one's leg. When you pull a person's leg you are spoofing or making fun of him, usually in a good-humored way. But that wasn't always the meaning of the expression. When the expression first turned up in Scotland about a hundred years ago, it was lacking the lighthearted touch it has today. In those days 'pull one's leg' meant to make of fool of him, often by outright cheating. The best theory of the origin of the phrase is that by tripping a person -- pulling his leg -- you can throw him into a state of confusion and make him look very foolish indeed." From Morris Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins by William and Mary Morris (HarperCollinsPublishers).