Dance with the one that brung ya


Senior Member
Hello. Could you please tell me what "Dance with the one that brung ya" literally means? Thank you.

One of his favourite political sayings came from a song popular in his youth: "Dance with the one that brung ya." Reagan's point was simple: in politics, as in life, you support those who support you. You are loyal to those who have made you. And that's not just in good times, or when it suits you. 'Dance with the one that brung ya': A message for nervous nellie Liberals
  • Thank you both. "Brung" then seems to be as a nonstandard version of "brought".
    nonstandard version
    Absolutely right, but I'd say "nonstandard" is too polite. It makes it sound acceptable, but it's really just a mistake,
    It identifies the speaker as not well enough educated to know that the verb forms of "to bring" do not follow the same pattern as (for example) "to ring" (as in to ring a bell).
    I'm afraid that, while csicski has the correct interpretation of this idiom, his attribution is wrong. Dardell Royal, coach of the University of Texas football team from 1957 to 1976, is normally credited as the source of the saying. In the sports context, it means "Don't replace theplayers who have been winning for you".
    It's a set saying, so those who say it are going to say "brung", whether they say it that way in their normal speech or not.

    You can bet the writer of that opinion article doesn't say it that way in their normal speech and very much knows the difference. If you change the words of a famous saying, it loses its punch.