Pull the other one

Posted by Jim on January 04, 2002

In Reply to: Pull the other one posted by Bob on January 04, 2002

: : : : Any help with the derivation of "Ring the other one it's got bells on". Anything to do with the women's fashion of wearing bells in their garters during the Twenties & Thirties?

: : : From Eric Partridge, Dictionary of Catch Phrases: American and British, from the Sixteenth Century to the Present Day:

: : : "'pull the other one, it's got bells on it!', occ. prec. by 'now'. 'A rejoinder to a fanciful statement or a tall story. "We don't believe it. Pull the other leg, it has bells on it"' (Granville, 1969).
: : : Frank Shaw attributed it to the 1920s. . . .
: : : Presumably from pictures of court jesters, wearing cap and bells."

: : Does it have something to do with the following nursery rhyme?

: : Ride a cock-horse to Banbury Cross,
: : To see a fine lady upon a white horse;
: : Rings on her fingers and bells on her toes,
: : And she shall have music whenever she goes.
: : --Gammer Gurton's Garland, 1784.

: FYI: "pull the other one," which is common enough in the UK, is almost never heard in the US.

On the other hand (sorry, couldn't resist), "you are pulling my leg" (telling me a tall one, a teasing lie) is common in the US.