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Pulling my leg

Posted by ESC on August 02, 2001

In Reply to: Pulling my leg posted by Thornton on August 01, 2001

: As I was discussing some political views with a chap, he replied that I was pulling his leg. I know what he meant but I'm curious to find out where that was first used.

For more discussion, search the archives under "leg."

"pull one's leg. When you pull a person's leg you are spoofing or making fun of him, usually in a good-humored way. But that wasn't always the meaning of the expression. When the expression first turned up in Scotland about a hundred years ago, it was lacking the lighthearted touch it has today. In those days 'pull one's leg' meant to make of fool of him, often by outright cheating. The best theory of the origin of the phrase is that by tripping a person -- pulling his leg -- you can throw him into a state of confusion and make him look very foolish indeed." From Morris Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins by William and Mary Morris (HarperCollinsPublishers).

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