Putting on

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8 comments on this post.
  1. Anne:

    I thought it meant putting someone on the wrong scent.

  2. Galen Fott:

    The “Twain” quote is actually from “The Peter Principle”.

  3. M Cosand:

    “Putting on” in my vocabulary has always meant putting on airs. “Stop putting on, we all know the truth.” Is this not a common usage ?

  4. Judi:

    “Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on or by imbeciles who really mean it.”

    ? Laurence J. Peter, The Peter Principle

    funny I came to this site in a search for the origin of this phrase and found you mistakenly attributed the quote to Mark Twain just like the post that started my search. I know that in Mark Twains time the phrase Putting me on or putting us on was not in use. I will search some more scholarly sites for the actual origin.

  5. L Spencer:

    I am 80 years old (today is 5/24/16) and I vividly recall the expression “putting them on” came into mine and my brother’s (79) vocabularies in about 1960; certainly not before 1958. I was living in Chicago then and my brother and I were both recently married. We enjoyed “putting on” our younger and less “hip” wives for sport when we were all together. Pretty immature and guaranteed to drive a marriage to the rocks if not brought to a screeching halt.

    I just ran across the Mark Twain “quote” a few minutes ago. It had a phony ring that led me to this site.

  6. Bill Cobey:

    There is of course the British equivalent of “you’re putting me on,” which is “you’re having me on.” Does anyone know which version came first, or why the difference in the two. One might hope the answer to that question might throw some light on the origins of the phrase…..

  7. Robert Underwood:

    Yes. The first time I heard it was The Peter Principle. The historical dating of the phrase “putting someone on” to mean fooling them to the 1950’s makes Dr. Peter a plausible candidate for first attribution.

  8. Thom Bennett:

    When was the phrase “Putting someone on” first used? Is it a 20th Century invention?

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