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Take down a peg

Posted by James Briggs on October 25, 2003

In Reply to: Take down a peg posted by R. Berg on October 25, 2003

: : any body knows the meaning of this idiom
: : "Taking down a pig or two."

: It's "taking down a peg or two." It means to humble someone who's arrogant.

To take down a peg implies a reduction in status for someone. The Peg in this case could be of the type used in the past to raise or lower a ship's colours. The higher the colours, the greater the esteem and vise versa. An alternative explanation comes from as far back as the year 975. King Egbert was so annoyed about the amount of drunkenness in his Kingdom that he ordered pegs to be put into the sides of ale kegs and said that no man should be allowed to drink below the level of the previous peg at a single sitting. No sooner did this edict come into force than people began to drink from others' kegs in order to take them down a peg and thus reduce their drinking status.

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