Under the Rug

So many idioms in our modern world have connections to rug.  I am sharing a few as well as the ones that include wool.  Rugs have been a part of society for a very long time, that some every day expressions have referenced the rug.  When one understand that this unique art form has been around since the beginning of time

sweep something under the rug

to hide something embarrassing sweep something under the carpet The scandal was swept under the rug because of the important people involved in it.

See also: rugsweep

Cambridge Dictionary of American Idioms Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2003. Reproduced with permission.

pull the rug from under somebody/something   also pull the rug from under somebody’s feet

to suddenly take away help or support from someone, or to suddenly do something which causes many problems for them The school pulled the rug from under the basketball team by making them pay to practise in the school gymnasium.

See also: pullrug

Cambridge Idioms Dictionary, 2nd ed. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2006. Reproduced with permission.

Pull the wool over your eyes

Meaning To deceive, to hoodwink.

Origin The natural assumption is that this phrase derives from the wearing of woollen wigs, which were fashionable for both men and women in the 16th and 17th centuries. The phrase itself is of 19th century American origin. The earliest example that I can find of it in print is from the Milwaukee Daily Sentinel And Gazette, October 1839:

“And we ask one question that they dare not firmly answer, whether they are not now making a tolerable attempt to pull the wool over the eyes of the people.”

The ‘wig’ derivation is probably correct but there must be an element of doubt about it as the wearing of wigs had largely died out in the USA by the early 19th century. The tradition has continued in Europe where the judiciary of several countries wear wigs in court. Not so in the USA, where the third president Thomas Jefferson (president between 1801 – 1809), although a wig wearer himself, advised the judiciary there:

“For Heaven’s sake discard the monstrous wig which makes the English judges look like rats peeping through bunches of oakum.”

 Pull the wool over your eyes

Meaning To deceive, to hoodwink.

Origin The natural assumption is that this phrase derives from the wearing of woollen wigs, which were fashionable for both men and women in the 16th and 17th centuries. The phrase itself is of 19th century American origin. The earliest example that I can find of it in print is from the Milwaukee Daily Sentinel And Gazette, October 1839:

“And we ask one question that they dare not firmly answer, whether they are not now making a tolerable attempt to pull the wool over the eyes of the people.”

The ‘wig’ derivation is probably correct but there must be an element of doubt about it as the wearing of wigs had largely died out in the USA by the early 19th century. The tradition has continued in Europe where the judiciary of several countries wear wigs in court. Not so in the USA, where the third president Thomas Jefferson (president between 1801 – 1809), although a wig wearer himself, advised the judiciary there:

“For Heaven’s sake discard the monstrous wig which makes the English judges look like rats peeping through bunches of oakum.”

 

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