just the facts, ma'am(redirected from just the facts ma'am)
just the facts, ma'am
Only state exactly what happened, without embellishment or exaggeration. The phrase is often attributed to the character Sergeant Joe Friday from the 1950s TV show Dragnet. Despite popular misconceptions, Friday never said this exact phrase. All right, whoa, just the facts, ma'am—when did you start hearing the strange noise? A: "He's a two-timing fool!" B: "All right, just the facts, ma'am. What caused your dispute?"
See also: just
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
Just the facts, Ma'am
Don't embellish your story. Many expressions moved from a movie or television program to popular speech, but none more quickly than a misquotation (as it turns out) of a lines by Sergeant Joe Friday, played by Jack Webb on the 1950s TV series Dragnet. With his deadpan expression and staccato speech, Friday enthralled the public; Dragnet was one of the highest-rated drama series of the decade. At least once in every show, viewers heard Friday tell a female witness, “Just the facts, Ma'am.” Except they didn't. He might have said, “Give us the facts, ma'am,” but he never uttered the four-word phrase. No matter, because the phrase swept the country in a wide range of contexts. If you wanted to be thought of (if only by yourself) as clever, you interjected “Just the facts, Ma'am” delivered in a Friday voice in a question or request. Oh well, Humphrey Bogart's character Rick in the movie Casablanca never said “Play it again, Sam” either.
See also: just
Endangered Phrases by Steven D. Price Copyright © 2011 by Steven D. Price