i hear my older coworkers usage this idiom/phrase occasionally. The seems maybe to it is in a humorous method to get out of a conversation. Even as a native snucongo.org speaker, I"ve never identified the exact instance you would usage this phrase. It practically sounds prefer it may have actually once been a punchline to a joke in a movie or something.

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I"m curious what is the specific meaning/usage that this phrase/idiom? whereby does the originate?


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Wikipedia actually has an article specialized to this phrase. The says:

The earliest confirmed publication is the 1866 Dion Boucicault beat Flying Scud in which a character knowingly breezes previous a complicated situation saying, "Excuse me Mr. Quail, i can"t stop; I"ve obtained to view a man around a dog." In a listing because that a 1939 resurgence on the NBC Radio regimen America"s shed Plays, Time newspaper observed that the phrase is the play"s "claim to fame".

Wiktionary adds:

The most typical variation is to "see a man about a horse". Practically any noun deserve to be substituted together a means of providing the hearer a hint about one"s purpose in departing. The inversion come "see a dog about a man" eliminates any lingering uncertainty around whether the hearer is being put off. A shorter variant is come "see a man".

As come the exact instance in which you would usage this phrase, that suggests:

Used together an excuse because that leaving without giving the genuine reason (especially if the factor is to go to the toilet, or to have actually a drink)

Back to Wikipedia again,

During barred in the unified States, the phrase was most typically used in relationship to the usage or purchase of alcoholic beverages.

World vast Words has extr info:

This has actually been a valuable (and usefully vague) excuse because that absenting oneself from company for around 150 years, though the actual reason because that slipping away has not constantly been the same. <...> From various other references at the time over there were three possibilities: 1) required to visit the loo <...> 2) he was in urgent need of a restorative drink, presumed alcoholic; or 3) he had a likewise urgent should visit his mistress.

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Of these reasons <...> the 2nd became the most common sense throughout the ban period. Now that society’s conventions have actually shifted come the point where no one of these reasons need reason much remark, the utility of the phrase is substantially diminished and it is most regularly used in a facetious sense, if in ~ all.