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Idiom

Pull Someone’s Leg: Origin and Meaning

Meaning
To try to make someone believe something that is not true as a way of joking with them and making them look foolish.
Origin
pull someones legThis idiom originated in England in the 1800s. Street robbers used to ‘pull someone’s leg’ using a wire which would cause the person to trip up. When they were on the floor, another street robber would steal the victim’s money and valuables. Over time, people started to trip each other up as a way of making them stumble, knock into other people and look foolish.
Examples
“I was pulling Jodie’s leg when I told her that watermelons grow on trees. She’s been driving around all day trying to find a watermelon tree!”

“Did you really just buy an expensive sports car or are you just pulling my leg?”

Simon: “Did you hear that we have an exam in our IELTS class today?”
Jessie: “What?! But I haven’t studied at all! How can they give us an exam without telling us?! Oh no, I’m going to fail!”
Simon: (laughing) “Relax, I’m just pulling your leg! There isn’t really an exam today.”