Posted by Masakim on November 07, 2002
In Reply to: Wool over the eyes posted by jeff on November 07, 2002
: Anyone know the origin of "pulling the wool over ones eyes?"
Wool Over Eyes . Big Wig Hoodwink
Merchants hawking their "stuff," politicians pushing their agendas, the Media exploiting it all. It seems like there's always someone trying to *pull the wool over our eyes*.
The *wool* referred to, however, was once just slang for "hair," synonymous with the powdered wigs worn by gentlemen several centuries ago.
The most powerful ones with the most elaborate hairstyles became our first bigwigs. It was then no simple task for a *bigwig* to take an innocent stroll down a city street with young hooligans lurking around every corner. As a malicious act, a joke, or for purpose of thievery, they would often pull the wig (the wool) down over said gentleman's eyes, enabling them to make off with his purse in the process.
This was similar to *hoodwinking* a person. To do so was to literally cover his eyes with a hood or other covering to obscure his vision. Figuratively, it came to mean blindfolding someone mentally in order to prevent him from seeing the truth.
From "A Word with You" (Nov 12, 1998)