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See a Man About a Dog: Origin and Meaning

If you do not want to tell someone the truth about where you are going or what you are doing, you can say, “I’m going to see a man about a dog”. Often used when you need to go to the toilet or to buy an alcoholic drink.
see a man about a dogThis idiom was first used in the play “The Flying Scud” written by Dion Boucicault in 1866. One of the characters tries to get out of a difficult situation by saying, “Excuse me Mr. Quail, I can’t stop; I’ve got to see a man about a dog”.
“I’m just going to see a man about a dog. I’ll be back soon.”

“I’m sorry but I have to go now. I need to see a man about a dog.”

John: “Hey, where are you going Paul? I wanted to talk to you about work.”
Paul: “I, errr… I have to see a man about a dog.”
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