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Did you “Get Up On The Wrong Side Of The Bed”

September 27, 2010
Michael Quinion, etymologist and owner of the ...

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Well I know I have that’s for sure.  So I thought I would look up the origin of this phrase.  It turns out this is a pretty ancient concept or phrase.  It is a belief that getting out of bed with the left leg touching the floor first or side was bad luck.  People believed that the left side of things was sinister.  This belief goes all the way back to the romans.  Augustus Caesar was cautious when getting out of bed, making sure it was on the right side.  If by chance you did get out of bed with your left leg first it was sad “you got out of bed the wrong way,” or “you got out of bed with the left leg foremost.”  There are several different spins on this phrase.  For example, author Michael Quinion thinks the first was “wrong side of the blanket” for a child born illegitimately.  Mr. Quinion also gave the examples of “getting on the wrong side of somebody,” “the wrong side of the law,” “laughing on the wrong side of one’s mouth,” and “on the wrong side of forty” (or almost any age).  I also found a superstition that it was unlucky to put your left shoe on first or how stepping into a house on your left foot was unlucky. Boy talk about having it rough in the morning.  I don’t think about anything when I get out of the bed.

So tomorrow maybe I’ll think twice before getting out of bed and see if I can get my right foot on the floor first.  That would require me to rearrange my bedroom but hey if I am in a good mood then it will all be worth it.

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