Follow suit

Posted by R. Berg on August 17, 2001

In Reply to: Followed suit posted by James Briggs on August 17, 2001

: : Wondering about the origin of this phrase. It sounds to me as if it referred to playing a card game, but apparently it goes way back in history.

: So does playing cards - many, many centuries in various forms. This must surely be the origin

The Oxford Engl. Dict. has no earlier meaning for "follow suit" than the one from card games, "to play a card of the same suit as the leading card; hence often, fig., to do the same thing as somebody or something else." The phrase used was originally "follow in suit," now obsolete. Earliest quotation: "The elder begins and younger follows in suit as at Whist" .