paint the town red, to

paint the town (red)

To go out into a city or town and have an enjoyable time, typically by visiting various establishments, such as bars, restaurants, clubs, etc. After our exams finished, we all decided to get dressed up and paint the town red. A: "I was thinking I might go to a museum or the library." B: "Wow, you're really going to paint the town red, huh?"
See also: paint, town
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

paint the town red

Go on a spree, as in Whenever they go to New York they want to paint the town red. The precise allusion of this term is disputed. Some believe it refers to setting something on fire; others point to a vague association of the color red with violence. [Late 1800s]
See also: paint, red, town
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

paint the town red

If you paint the town red, you go out and enjoy yourself, often drinking alcohol and dancing. Don't you and the other sisters ever paint the town red? Preparing yourself to paint the town red on a Saturday night just doesn't have the same buzz without suitable music to get ready to. Note: This expression is said to have originated in the Wild West. It may have been used to describe groups of Native Americans setting fire to towns. Another possibility is that it referred to cowboys threatening to `paint the town red' with the blood of anyone who tried to stop their drunken behaviour.
See also: paint, red, town
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

paint the town red

go out and enjoy yourself flamboyantly. informal
See also: paint, red, town
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

paint the town ˈred

(informal) go to a lot of different bars, clubs, etc. and enjoy yourself: It was the end of term and students decided to go out and paint the town red.
See also: paint, red, town
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

paint the town (red)

tv. to go out and celebrate; to go on a drinking bout; to get drunk. They were out painting the town red last night.
See also: paint, red, town
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

paint the town red

Slang
To go on a spree.
See also: paint, red, town
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

paint the town red, to

To indulge in convivial carousing, making the rounds of bars, clubs, and similar places of entertainment. Originating in America in the late nineteenth century, the term appeared in the Boston Journal in 1884: “Whenever there was any excitement or anybody got particularly loud, they always said somebody was ‘painting the town red.’”
See also: paint, to, town
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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References in periodicals archive ?
And they want everyone to paint the town red, to celebrate the 50th anniversary display season of the RAF Red Arrows.