to take one's socks off

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Senior Member
Hi everybody,

I've found this expression in a book for children which takes place in a sort of medieval setting.

An old servant who is in charge of the castle's finances tells the young princess:
“I’ve got to get down to the kitchens. I’ve left the red ledger with the cook, and I don’t trust her. She can’t count to twenty without taking her socks off.”

I've found on the web that the act of taking off one's socks sometimes is used to say that someone is going to have a sexual intercourse.
It makes sense, in this context, but being a children's novel, I want to be sure that I'm not misunderstanding it.

Would anybody suggest a dfferent meaning?

Thank you so much
  • dermott

    Senior Member
    B.E. via Australian English
    No, it's nothing sexual. It's actually a pretty old joke based on being so dumb you have to use your fingers to count. In order to count to 20 she has to remove her socks to count using her toes. 10 fingers + 10 toes = 20.
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