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pull (one's) leg
To tease or joke with someone, often by trying to convince them of something untrue. Quit pulling my leg, I know there isn't a Hollywood director calling me right now. I love pulling my sister's leg—it's almost too easy to annoy her.
pull someone's leg
Fig. to kid, fool, or trick someone. You don't mean that. You're just pulling my leg. Don't believe him. He's just pulling your leg.
pull (someone's) leg
To play a joke on; tease or deceive.
pull someone's leg, to
To tease or fool someone; to trick someone in a humorous way. This term for a time was thought to allude to the gruesome practice of pulling on the legs of a person who was being hanged in order to shorten his or her agony. In fact, however, the current meaning of the cliché dates only from the late nineteenth century, long after hanging was accomplished in more humane fashion (by means of a long drop). Most authorities now believe it alludes to tricking a person by tripping them, using a cane or foot or other object that, in effect, holds back one of their legs so that they fall. Current in England in the late nineteenth century, it had crossed the Atlantic by 1910, when O. Henry wrote, “You can’t pull my leg,” in his story A Little Local Color.
See also: pull