pull the wool over someone's eyes

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1) I think he's trying to cheat me.
2) I think he's trying to pull a fast one.
3) I think he's trying to pull the wool over my eyes.

I think that sentence 1 sounds more common than sentence 2, and that sentence 2 sounds more common than sentence 3. What do you think?
The following sentences sound incorrect, don't they?

-- I think he's trying to pull the wool of my eyes.
-- I think he's trying to pull a wool over my eyes.
  • maxiogee

    I think your sequence is probably right for frequency of use here in Ireland but I couldn't comment on elsewhere.

    The two final sentences are very definitely incorrect.


    Senior Member
    U.S. English
    "To pull the wool over one's eyes," means "to blind to the facts and deceive."

    "To pull a fast one" = To get away with something.

    I think these sentences are fine.


    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    1, 2, and 3 are OK sentences.
    2 & 3 are more colloquial than 1.

    In writing, 1 is probably best.

    In speech, I really couldn't say which is more common.


    Senior Member
    Hi, I cannot understand the meaning of the red part of the following sentence from “The Intruder Andre Dubus” by Andre Dubus. Would you please explain it to me? Thanks a lot.

    “I owe you an apology,” I told Givens. “It looks like somebody pulled the wool over my eyes.” “Apology accepted!” Givens said.


    Senior Member
    This is a common idiom, tesoke, so I've merged your thread with an earlier one that talks about this expression. If this thread, plus Packard's reply, doesn't answer your questions, you're welcome to add them to this thread.

    English Only moderator


    Senior Member
    There is apparently some uncertainty about its origins. According to The Phrase Finder, the origin is actually the woolen wigs that gentlemen used to wear. I found this explanation a couple of other places, too. Another theory is that wool used to be common slang for hair.

    Everybody agrees on the meaning, though, thank goodness. :)
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