"with all due respect"

Posted by Lewis on May 02, 2003

In Reply to: "With all due respect" posted by Dr. Ward Fredericks on April 27, 2003

: This is a phrase I have heard used in many circumstances and with many different shadings. Used to demean a questioner or to recognize the legitimacy of a discussion partner --- I wonder -- where did it originate?

I would suggest that it originates from the law courts, where it is a professional requirement that an arguer shows "respect" to the opponent. To say expressly that one is giving due respect, one is claiming to adhere to the formal requirement to do so, but venturing to differ in opinion, sometimes in such a severe fashion that should that person not have clarified that they were indeed showing respect, that one would think that they considered their opponent an idiot.