I hear my older coemployees use this idiom/phrase periodically. It appears possibly to be a humorous way to acquire out of a conversation. Even as a aboriginal jiyuushikan.org speaker, I"ve never before identified the exact instance you would certainly use this expression. It practically sounds favor it might have actually as soon as been a punchline to a joke in a movie or something.

You are watching: I have to go see a man about a dog

I"m curious what is the specific meaning/consumption of this phrase/idiom? Wright here does it originate?


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Wikipedia actually has an write-up dedicated to this phrase. It says:

The earliest confirmed publication is the 1866 Dion Boucicault play Flying Scud in which a character knowingly breezes previous a challenging case saying, "Excusage me Mr. Quail, I can not stop; I"ve acquired to view a male around a dog." In a listing for a 1939 rebirth on the NBC Radio program America"s Lost Plays, Time magazine observed that the expression is the play"s "claim to fame".

Wiktionary adds:

The many prevalent variation is to "watch a male around a horse". Althe majority of any kind of noun deserve to be substituted as a means of offering the hearer a hint around one"s purpose in departing. The invariation to "view a dog about a man" eliminates any lingering uncertainty around whether the hearer is being put off. A shorter variant is to "see a man".

As to the specific case in which you would certainly usage this phrase, it suggests:

Used as an excuse for leaving without giving the genuine factor (especially if the reason is to go to the toilet, or to have a drink)

Back to Wikipedia aacquire,

During Prohibition in the United States, the expression was most commonly offered in relation to the usage or purchase of alcoholic beverperiods.

World Wide Words has additional info:

This has been a beneficial (and also usefully vague) excusage for absenting oneself from company for about 150 years, though the actual factor for slipping ameans has actually not constantly been the same. <...> From various other recommendations at the moment tbelow were 3 possibilities: 1) necessary to visit the loo <...> 2) he remained in urgent require of a restorative drink, presumed alcoholic; or 3) he had actually a likewise immediate have to visit his mistress.

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Of these reasons <...> the second came to be the the majority of common feeling in the time of the Prohibition period. Now that society’s conventions have actually shifted to the suggest wbelow namong these reasons require cause a lot renote, the energy of the expression is significantly diminished and it is most frequently provided in a facetious feeling, if at all.