paint the town red

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blacknomi

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Is there anybody who knows the history behind this idiom?
 
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Susie Smith

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blacknomi said:
Is there anybody who knows the history behind this idiom?

It means to go on a wild spree.

According to The Phrase Finder, it is an allusion to the kind of riotous behaviour that results in much red blood being spilt.

:wink:
 
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Susie Smith

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blacknomi said:
I also found out one explanation, but I think it implies certain sexism. :(

http://www.sportsonly.com/a/6488/bin/3060.html

I found this at www.theanswerbank.co.uk/ Answered/Question14571-12.asp?Page=1

The phrase first appeared in print in the 'Boston Journal' in 1884, meaning any form of excitement or situations where people were very loud and clearly enjoying themselves. I suppose it was based on the fact that red is generally seen as a cheerful - even fiery - colour. Painting the town thus, metaphorically speaking, made it a brighter, 'louder' place.

Obviously none of us are old enough to remember what it originally meant. :lol:
 
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Susie Smith

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blacknomi said:
I also found out one explanation, but I think it implies certain sexism. :(

http://www.sportsonly.com/a/6488/bin/3060.html

Here's another one: :lol:
Paint the town red - go on a spree
Several attempts have been made to explain this. The most persuasive locates its origin in an actual piece of drunken vandalism by the Marquis of Waterford and a bunch of his chums who, as an aristocratic joke, actually painted parts of the local town red in the area of Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, in 1837. The incident created sufficient stir to be recorded in contemporary verse and engraving.

http://users.tinyonline.co.uk/gswithenbank/sayingsp.htm

If I had time, I could probably find a few others. Learning how an idiom started is interesting but better yet is to know what it means today and how to use it. :wink:
 

Tdol

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Coming from Leicestershire, I like to think that our drunken vandals have added to the language.;-)
 
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