To take the mickey out

Discussion in 'English Only' started by kruthskins, Dec 10, 2008.

  1. kruthskins Senior Member

    Austin, Texas
    United States- English
    I came across the phrase "to take the mickey out" in the Spanish-English word reference dictionary and was wondering where people use this phrase and what it means. For reference, it was given as the translation for the Spanish word "cachondearse." I believe the phrase is supposed to mean "to make fun of." If I heard someone say something like "He took the mickey out on me," however, I would assume something very different had occurred.

    And just to be clear, I'm not looking for a discussion of the translation from Spanish. I'm curious about the English phrase.

  2. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU
    It's BE and common. Here's the entry from Cambridge's Dictionary of Idioms:

    take the mick/mickey British & Australian, informal

    to make people laugh at someone, usually by copying what they do or say in a way that seems funny
    They used to take the mick out of him because of the way he walked.
    I thought you were being serious - I didn't realise you were taking the mickey.

    BE speakers I know also use it as an equivalent to the AE "pulling one's leg".

    For example, if I say something to make fun of a person, or just to trick them, they may ask, "Are you taking the mickey?"
  3. kruthskins Senior Member

    Austin, Texas
    United States- English
    So basically to mock then?
  4. zapateado Senior Member

    English USA
    I'd say more kidding or teasing than mocking.
  5. xebonyx

    xebonyx Senior Member


    So could you say "stop micking/mickeying me" and "are you micking/mickeying me?"
  6. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU

    No, that's not how it's used. More like Stop taking the mickey and
    Are you taking the mickey?

    I'm sure a BE native can give more insight.
  7. bibliolept

    bibliolept Senior Member

    Northern California
    AE, Español
    Sometimes it can mean something like "pulling their hair" or "fooling," sometimes it can mean teasing or mocking, if I correctly remember my discussion with ewie on this phrase.
  8. cycloneviv

    cycloneviv Senior Member

    Perth, Western Australia
    English - Australia
    Here's a lengthy thread on the subject:

    Taking the mick

    By the way, I think of this definitely as UK slang. It's not used commonly in Australia any more, unless you're putting on a silly London accent and pretending you're a cast member of The Bill.
  9. elianecanspeak

    elianecanspeak Senior Member

    by Lake Michigan
    English - EEUU
    In AE we say "pulling someone's leg", but I have never heard "pulling someone's hair" in this context in English.

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