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Pull the other one, it's got bells on

Posted by ESC on March 28, 2003

In Reply to: Pull the other one, it's got bells on posted by ESC on March 28, 2003

: : : I've been looking for the origin of this phrase, and I think it's from somewhere in the 17th or 18th century but don't know for sure. Can anyone help me with this?

: : Do you mean " Pull the other ONE ??

: I think it refers to "pulling someone's leg." Fooling or teasing him or her. It's a variation of:

"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).