the jig is up
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- (US, idiomatic) An expression used to mean "We have been caught out and have no defense", or if spoken to a person who has just been found out as the perpetrator of an offense, where it means "You've been discovered".
- 1753, The Skipper:
- We knew then the jig was up, and it was no grin matter for us.
- 1833, Seba Smith (as Jack Downing), The life and writings of Major Jack Downing, of Downingville, away down East in the State of Maine, Lilly; Wait; Colman & Holden, page 176:
- When I first told 'em how the jig was up with us, that the British were going to have the land, without any fighting about it, I never see fellows so mad before in my life, unless it was Major Eaton at Washington when he sot out to flog Mr. Ingham.
- 1920, Champ Clark, My Quarter Century of American Politics, Harper & brothers, page 96:
- After I had returned home in the spring of 1893 from Washington, where I saw so many gray-haired men who had held high elective office begging for the crumbs from Cleveland's table, I gave my wife an account of what I observed, and told her that when the jig was up for me I would hasten back to Missouri to begin the practice of law once more and be a man among men.
- ^ Robert Hendrickson (1997) Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins, New York: Facts on File