Why do we say "If the shoe fits, wear it.

Well-Known Expressions

If the shoe fits, wear it

Meaning:

If an assessment of you is correct, then you must accept it, even if it's unflattering

Background:

Records of the expression "if the cloak fits" are found in 16th century English writing. For example, in Of the Lawes of Ecclesiasticall Polite (1593), Anglian priest Richard Hooker writes, "Which cloake sitteth no lesse fit on the backe of their cause, than of the Anabaptists."

In 1705, Daniel Defoe published a poem critical of the British parliament in which he wrote, "Gentlemen, and if the Cap fits any Body let 'em wear it."

In Britain, "if the cap fits" is still the norm; but in North America, by the late 18th century, the expression morphed into "if the shoe fits". The earliest known example being from the New York Gazette & Weekly Mercury, in 1773: "Why should Mr. Vanderbeck apply a general comparison to himself? Let those whom the shoe fits wear it."

According to phrases.org.uk, the shift from cap to shoe might have been influenced by the Cinderalla story, as versions of the story including the lost slipper were well known in the USA and Europe by 1773.

Alphabetical list of expressions

Challenge yourself with BookBrowse Wordplays

One-Month Free Membership

Discover your next great read here

Join Today!

Editor's Choice


Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Atomic Weight of Love
by Elizabeth J. Church

In the spirit of The Aviator's Wife, this resonant debut spans from World War II through the Vietnam War.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    No One Is Coming to Save Us
    by Stephanie Powell Watts

    One of Entertainment Weekly, Nylon and Elle's most anticipated books of 2017.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The Garden of Small Beginnings
    by Abbi Waxman


    Reader Reviews

Who Said...

Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

Solve this clue:

Y S M B, I'll S Y

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
Modal popup -