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Pull Someone's leg

刊登日期: 2019.06.07
作者: Grace Tse  

We all need friends because they can give us support and keep us company. However, do you get annoyed when your friends sometimes pull your leg? 

The phrase “pull somebody’s leg” does not mean that they hurt you by pulling your leg. Instead, it has a humorous connotation, meaning that a person teases or lies to someone as a joke. This is often used in informal conversation rather than formal writing. 

Relax, he’s just pulling your leg ( 捉弄; 拿⋯⋯開玩笑). Tomorrow’s test has been cancelled already. 

One of the possible stories behind this expression is related to robbery in the 19th century. Street robbers used a stick or some objects to trip people up. When the victims were lying on the ground, the robbers stole their money and other valuables. In modern English, when someone pulls your leg, he or she tries to deceive you in a playful way, making you believe something that is not true. 

An example of this usage can be found as early as 1883 in a newspaper “The Newark Daily Advocate” in the USA: 

“… a man who has been telling you preposterous lies has been ‘pulling your leg.’” 

Nowadays, in British English, if someone pulls your leg and you do not believe him or her, you may respond, 

“I know you’re joking. Pull the other one, it’s got bells on it.” 

While it may be a fun way to pull your friend’s leg, the line between teasing and bullying is not easy to draw. So, you have to think carefully whether your behaviour will cause your friend distress or not. 


Glossary
Company 
作伴
Annoyed 
生氣
Humorous 
幽默
Teases 
取笑
Valuables 
貴重物品
Preposterous 
可笑的
Bullying 
欺負
Distress 
難受

 

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