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Fun Fact November 23, 2020.

23 November 2020

Today I might be pulling your leg.  You, no doubt, know what that idiom means.  Someone is telling you a tall tale, lying to you or trying to pull a prank or joke on you.  The actual origin of the phrase, like so many, is not known.  One theory is it’s derived from thieves who would trip their victim by grabbing one of their legs.  Once down the ne’er-do-well would rob them.  Another possible origin is from the days of executions by means of suspension hanging.  Unlike a drop hanging, a suspension hanging caused a prolonged and more gruesome death.  To hasten the deed people were hired to grab, or pull on the leg of the person being hanged, thus speeding up the process.  There is no documentation to support either of these theories.  The first time the phrase appeared in print was in Ohio in 1883 in the Newark Daily Advocate which said;  It is now the correct thing to say that a man who has been telling you preposterous lies has been ‘pulling your leg.’ That may indicate that the phrase was relatively new and needed an explanation so all would be able to understand what it meant.  Unless Today I Found Out dot com is pulling our legs, that’s the story of leg pulling as an idiom. 

Fun Fact November 23, 2020.