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Going to see a man about a dog

Posted by James Briggs on September 28, 2003

In Reply to: Going to see a man about a dog posted by Lotg on September 28, 2003

: : : My mother always used this expression to refer to going to use the toilet.

: : Yes; many people have. The archives have some discussions of it.

: :: I thought it was seeing a man about a dog, and applied to pretty much anything you were going to go off and do, particularly if it involved dealing with someone else to do it???

Here's what I posted in the past:
When someone says that they are going to see a man about a dog they really mean that they are unwilling to reveal the true nature of their business. The expression comes from the long forgotten 1866 play 'Flying Scud' by a prolific Irish-born playwright of the period named Dion Boucicault. One of the characters uses the words as an excuse to get away from a tricky situation. This character, an eccentric and superannuated old jockey, says: "Excuse me Mr. Quail, I can't stop; I've got to see a man about a dog". This is the only thing that seems to have survived from the play.