I hear my older coemployees use this idiom/expression sometimes. It appears possibly to be a humorous method to obtain out of a conversation. Even as a aboriginal nlinux.org speaker, I"ve never identified the precise case you would certainly use this expression. It practically sounds favor it might have actually once been a punchline to a joke in a movie or something.

You are watching: Got to see a man about a dog

I"m curious what is the exact meaning/consumption of this phrase/idiom? Where does it originate?


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Wikipedia actually has an short article dedicated to this phrase. It says:

The earliest shown publication is the 1866 Dion Boucicault play Flying Scud in which a character knowingly breezes past an overwhelming situation saying, "Excuse me Mr. Quail, I can"t stop; I"ve got to see a guy about a dog." In a listing for a 1939 revival on the NBC Radio routine America"s Lost Plays, Time magazine oboffered that the phrase is the play"s "case to fame".

Wiktionary adds:

The many common variation is to "check out a guy around a horse". Ala lot of any type of noun can be substituted as a way of providing the hearer a hint around one"s function in departing. The inversion to "watch a dog around a man" eliminates any kind of lingering uncertainty about whether the hearer is being put off. A shorter variant is to "check out a man".

As to the precise situation in which you would usage this expression, it suggests:

Used as an excuse for leaving without giving the real reason (particularly if the reason is to go to the toilet, or to have actually a drink)

Back to Wikipedia aobtain,

Throughout Prohibition in the United States, the phrase was a lot of commonly provided in relation to the intake or purchase of alcoholic beverages.

World Wide Words has actually added info:

This has actually been a beneficial (and also usetotally vague) excusage for absenting oneself from firm for about 150 years, though the real factor for slipping away has actually not constantly been the same. <...> From various other recommendations at the moment there were three possibilities: 1) needed to visit the loo <...> 2) he was in urgent require of a restorative drink, presumed alcoholic; or 3) he had a similarly urgent should visit his mitension.

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Of these reasons <...> the second became the the majority of widespread sense during the Prohibition duration. Now that society’s conventions have shifted to the suggest wbelow none of these factors need reason much renote, the utility of the phrase is greatly diminished and it is a lot of often used in a facetious feeling, if at all.