Posted by Abe on May 05, 2005
In Reply to: Talk to a man about a horse posted by James Briggs on May 05, 2005
: : Does anyone have the etymology and meaning of the phrase "gotta talk to a man about a horse"?
: I suspect that it's a variation of the phrase 'to see a man about a dog', used by someone that is unwilling to reveal the true nature of their business or to get out of an unwanted situation.
: 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.
As a BTW: the expression was occasionally used by rural people in the Midwest US as a humorous expression to mean 'Excuse me, I must go to the bathroom.'