pull someone's leg


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Related to pull someone's leg: play it by ear

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.
See also: leg, pull

pull someone's leg

Play a joke on, tease, as in Are you serious about moving back in or are you pulling my leg? This term is thought to allude to tripping someone by so holding a stick or other object that one of his legs is pulled back. [Late 1800s]
See also: leg, pull

pull someone's leg

If you pull someone's leg, you tease them about something, for example by telling them something which is not true. Is he serious or just pulling my leg? I'm just pulling your leg, darling. You used to have a sense of humour. Note: You can refer to a joke like this as a leg-pull. A lot of people think this kind of painting is a leg-pull. Note: There are two possible explanations for this expression, although there is no proof for either. One suggestion is that in the past, when someone was being hanged, their friends or family sometimes pulled their legs hard so that they died more quickly and suffered less. Alternatively, the expression may refer to thieves tripping people up before they robbed them.
See also: leg, pull

pull someone's leg

deceive someone playfully; tease someone.
See also: leg, pull

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