Posted by ESC on February 27, 2003
In Reply to: Phrase posted by Steve on February 27, 2003
: What does "I'll be there with bells on"
"Be there with bells on. Arriving 'with bells on' -- meaning happy and delighted to attend -- goes back to the days before automobile, when it was the custom to deck out with the fanciest harness the horse that drew the carriage for special occasions. That, of course, was the harness 'with bells on.'" From the "Morris Dictionary of Word Phrase Origins" by William and Mary Morris (HarperCollins, Publishers, New York, 1977, 1988).
Search the archives under "bells" for further discussion.