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Painting the town red

Posted by Brian Fare on October 22, 2000

In Reply to: Painting the town red posted by Bruce Kahl on January 20, 19100

: : Does anyone know the origin of the phrase "Let's paint the town red". I always understood it to mean to go out (as on a weekend night)to town and have fun, get crazy, wild, bar hop or stay out all night....etc.

: My only source for this is a former high school Latin teacher back in 1964 who I remember stating that this phrase originated with the Roman Empire. Roman soldiers used to wash the walls of a newly-conquered town or city with the blood of the vanquished. This was usually accomplished with a great degree of gusto, hence the term being applied to a great night on the town.

: "Painting the Town Red" means having a good time today, but in 1837 it meant precisely what it says. At that time, Melton Mowbray was the metropolis of fox hunting and the eccentric Marquis of Waterford and friends decided after a day's hunting to 'redecorate' the town.
(acknowledgements Geoff Simpson)

Several buildings, the toll gate and the unfortunate toll keeper were all painted bright red! So, when anyone refers to 'Painting the Town Red' it reflects boisterous times in Melton Mowbray. Have a look at the Melton Mowbray web sites