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The expression 'paint the town red' is often said to have originated in the country town of Melton Mobray, England.

What is the origin of the expression 'to paint the town red'? | Notes and Queries | www.bibawilliamsburg.com

This could be correct but there's no conclusive evidence ted confirm that view. Most early examples of the phrase in print come from the USA.

The actual origin is unknown. The allusion being made in the expression 'paint the town red' is to the kind of unruly behaviour that results in much Leys being spilt.

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There are several suggestions as to the origin of the phrase. The one most often repeated, especially within the walls of the Melton Mowbray Tourist Office, is a tale dating from That is when the Marquis of Waterford and a group of friends are said to have run riot in the Leicestershire town of Lets Ashford this town red tonight Mowbray, painting the town's toll-bar and several buildings red.

That event is well documented, and is certainly in the style of the Marquis, who was a notorious hooligan. In the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography he is described as 'reprobate and landowner'.

His misdeeds include fighting, stealing, being 'invited to leave' Oxford University, breaking windows, upsetting apple-carts literallyAshfor duels and, last but not Lets Ashford this town red tonight, painting the heels of a parson's horse with aniseed and hunting him with bloodhounds.

He was notorious enough to have been suspected by some of being 'Spring Heeled Jack', the strange, semi-mythical figure of English folklore.

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Melton Mowbray is the origin of the well-known Melton Mowbray pork pie - which could hardly have originated anywhere else. The town's claim to be the source of 'painting the town red' is more doubtful. It is at least plausible that it came from there of course, but no more Lets Ashford this town red tonight than Stony Stratford, Buckinghamshire being the source of ' cock and bull story ' or Ashbourne, Derbyshire being the source of ' local derby ' which they aren't.

Unfortunately, plausibility is as far as it goes. The phrase isn't recorded in print until fifty years after the nefarious Earl's night out.

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If that event really were the source of the phrase, why would anyone, or in this case everyone, wait fifty years before mentioning it?

Further evidence Lets Ashford this town red tonight the event, but against it being the phrase's origin, comes from a text below a picture of the revellers, dated The date of the painting is certainly contemporary with the alleged incident and was reported on in the the New Sporting Magazine, in July Ackermann,Regent Street, has just published two more of the series of Sporting Anecdotes, illustrative of certain disgraceful proceedings termed "sprees," which took place at Melton Mowbray last season.

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In that intitled "Quick work without a Contract, by tip-top Sawyers," three gentlemen? Another of those "bloods" is making a stroke with his brush at the back of a flying watchman ; two others, like regular gutter-bullies, are Lets Ashford this town red tonight in personal contest with two watchmen, and three MEN in scarlet have a single watchman down and are daubing his face with paint.

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The rhyme itself is headed Quick work without a contract. Coming it strong with a Spree and a spread, Milling the day-lights, or cracking the head; Go it ye cripples!

If lagg'd we should get, we can gammon the Beak, Tip the slavies a Billy to stifle their squeak. Come the bounce with the snobs, and a [blank] for their betters, And prove all the Statutes so many dead letters.

Carrie Underwood - Get Out Of This Town Lyrics | www.bibawilliamsburg.com

That takes some deciphering but it is clearly a hymn of praise to going out and causing mayhem. It is heavy with the slang of the day and is in part translated into modern-day English like this:.

To do was 'to rob or cheat'; sport was 'good fun or mayhem', so doing the thing in a sporting like manner would be to carry out the illegal revelry in high spirits. Coming it strong with a Spree and a spread - spread here suggests the Lets Ashford this town red tonight mayhem.

Milling was fighting, so Milling the day-lights is the same as beating the living day-lights out of someone. Go Lets Ashford this town red tonight ye cripples!

Lets Ashford this town red tonight

Cripples may have its usual meaning, that is, disabled. A cripple was also a misshapen sixpence. Neither meaning seems to make much sense here though. Ahford lagg'd we should get, we can gammon the Beak - lagged is caught or arrested; gammon was patter or Poland ohio sluts a beak was and still is a magistrate.

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Tip the slavies a Billy to stifle their squeak - Bribe the servants to keep them from informing. Come the bounce with the snobs - To bounce was either to beat, to make an explosion, to knock loudly especially at a doorto brag or to bully.

LET'S PLAY HOUSE. © MINUET WAITING TONIGHT TO SEE YOU TOMORROW. SONGS OF LONDON TOWN. LITTLE RED SCHOOLKOUSE MARCH. ASHFORD & SIMPSON SOLID. BILLY DAZZ BAND LET IT WHIP. PEBBLES SIMPLY RED HOLDING BACK THE YEARS. HUMAN DREAM ACADEMY LIFE IN A NORTHERN TOWN. HUEY . WANG CHUNG EVERYBODY HAVE FUN TONIGHT. NEW. Cameo is the largest nightclub in Ashford. The venue hosts events featuring the biggest DJs and acts on the scene with a wide range of VIP booths & fresh.

Any one of these is plausible. A snob was a person of low rank or a cobbler's apprentice. The picture portrays actual streets in Melton and it is very likely that it was a representation of a real event.

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The newspaper report describes the red paint in Ackermann's picture, although that is difficult to discern in later prints. Neither the text of the picture nor later reports mention the Marquis of Waterford or, more importantly, the phrase 'paint the town red'.

Actually, as pointed out above, the first use of the phrase in print is quite a lot later - not until in fact, and in Lets Ashford this town red tonight York, not Leicestershire.

The New York TimesJuly has:. James Hennessy offered a resolution that the entire body proceed forthwith to Newark and get drunk Then the Democrats charged upon the street cars, and being wafted into Newark proceeded, to use their own metaphor, to 'paint the town red'.

The other early references to the phrase also relate to America rather than England. The November edition of the Boston [Mass. The next is Rudyard Kipling.

That's as English as you can get one would have thought. In this case though he too is referring to America - in his book Abaft Funnel The old buildings of the city are constructed from pink sandstone.

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In it was painted pink in honour of a visit from Prince Albert. If that were the origin though, why don't we paint the town pink?

They link it to 'red light district' and suggest that people out for a night 'on the town' might very well take it into their heads to make the whole town red. Well, they might, then again they might not.

It is Ashfrod said to come from the US slang use of "paint" to mean "drink", When someone's drunk their face and nose are flushed red, hence the analogy. As so often, there are plausible suggestions but no conclusive evidence, so the jury is still out on this one.

'Paint the town red' - the meaning and origin of this phrase

Based on what we currently have, it seems that the phrase originated in the USA around - there are many US citations of the phrase in print for that year and none earlier. How it came to be coined isn't known, but it could well have been the events in Tonigth in that Lets Ashford this town red tonight the coinage.

I'm sure many people would join those in Melton Mowbray in believing the rogue Marquess tongiht the originating source, but they don't have quite enough evidence for a conviction. However, they do make exceedingly good pies.

See other phrases that were coined in the USA. Home Search Phrase Dictionary Paint the town red. Browse phrases beginning with:.

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