phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at


Posted by Stan Otterburn on August 27, 2000

In Reply to: >Questions posted by Paul Guthrie on :

: : : : What is the origin of this phrase?

: : : "...Mad Dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun.."
: : : --Noel Coward

The origin of the saying derives from the British Raj in India during the reign of Victoria, when lots of British aristocracy decided to go and live there. It was of course the thing to parade throught the streets in their finery to show the natives they were the "ruling class". Unfortunately the British complexion was not accustomed to the climate and many severe and often fatal cases of sunstroke occurred. The native Indians, of course, having the sense to stay indoors during the hottest period of the day.
Hence the only things to venture out in the hottest period of the day were "mad dogs" and Englishmen!