24 May. “To take the mickey.” What does this English expression mean?
This English expression is rather informal and therefore is mostly found in spoken language and not in literary works. Read below to learn about when it should be used!
The expression is used to mean “to make fun of.” It is a synonym of the word “tease” but is a more informal and conversational way of expressing this. It can be expressed in a number of different ways “to take/to extract the mickey/mike/mick.”
The first recorded use of the expression dates to the year 1952 in J. Henry’s Who lie in Gaol which reads “she’s a terror. I expect she’ll try and take the mickey out of you all right. Don’t you stand for nothin’.”
The expression is said to have evolved from other similar expressions. One of these which is still used interchangeably is the expression “to take the mike.” The first use of this dates to the year 1935. It can be found in George Ingram’s Cockney Cavalcade which reads “he wouldn’t let Pancake ‘take the mike’ out of him.”
An example of this expression can be found in a quote by businessman Richard Branson. It reads “I never get the accountants in before I start up a business. It’s done on gut feeling, especially if I can see that they are taking the mickey out of the consumer.”