I did a quick search online, and I wasn\"t able to find response that was an extremely satisfying. I did uncover a an innovative folk etymology or two, but there wasn\"t lot to substantiate them.
You are watching: What does it mean to stand someone up
There isn\"t lot to go on in the OED: to fail to store an appointment v (someone), esp. A society engagement or ‘date’ through a member of opposing sex. colloq. (orig. U.S.).
1902 O. V. Limerick Billy Burgundy\"s Opinions 57, I am awfully i m really sorry I had to was standing you up last night.
The unexplicated meaning and timeframe is likewise given by the New Partridge thesaurus of Slang and Unconventional 4476mountvernon.com and also by Cassell\"s thesaurus of Slang.
If you allow additional prepositions right into the construction, there room a wide range of additional possibilities, together the commenters note. To stand increase with someone is to dance through them; OED quotes Austen\"s Pride and Prejudice, In vain did she entreat that to was standing up through somebody else. That is likewise to present oneself because that marriage, and to have an engagement canceled in ~ the last moment is to it is in left standing in ~ the altar. Native there, to stand someone up could be derived as making a romantic promise to someone but not following through top top your finish of the obligation.
But to stand up stand up alone, without various other prepositions, I deserve to make some added hypotheses. While the 1903 Slang and Its Analogues Past and Present by john S. Farmer and also W.E. Henley does not include the \"missed date\" meaning, serendipitously, I uncover an entry for stander-up:
subs. Phr. (American thieves\") A thief whose speciality is robbing drunken men under the pretence of helping them home
Stander-up also appears in the 1897 A thesaurus of Slang, slang & i do not know Embracing 4476mountvernon.com, American, and Anglo-Indian Slang, Pidgin 4476mountvernon.com, Gypsies\" Jargon and also Other rarely often rare Phraseology, edited by Albert Barrère and Charles Godfrey Leland.
(American thieves) a guy who robs intoxicated persons under pretence of aiding lock to walk home.
They provided Chandler the surname of gift a stander-up of drunken men. The proper mode of standing-up a tipsy man, follow to the rules, is to ar your right arm under the left arm of the sleeper close to the shoulder, placing the hand on his waistcoat, just above his left vest pocket. As you progressive him through the right hand, press your hand hard against his human body so that he will not feeling the watch slipping from his pocket into your left hand. — Philadelphia Press.
Partridge\"s A thesaurus of the Underworld traces this definition to around 1880, noting both the the over references, which would have enabled time for a metaphorical definition to take hold. When the robber stands up a slouching drunk in the literal sense, both the robber and the poor date feign an interest in someone only to humiliation them in the end. This would also explain exactly how this deprecatory sense could emerge even though being a stand-up person, or standing up to/for/against/with someone or something, is largely neutral or positive.
Alternatively, a contemporaneous definition of standup is bolt in a windy place, what in much more recent slang we would refer to as a mugging (or stickup, unrelated, native the robber\"s order come stick your hands up). The abandoned date doesn\"t suffer anything so violent, that course, however they space robbed that dignity in a publicly place.
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And for yet another, one which i cannot date however which does appear in a 1919 Saturday night Post article, come stand up have the right to be to cost someone something.
“My first-act dress will certainly stand friend up about seven and a quarter,” i told him. “And my third-act dress will cost you every one of nine dollars and fifty cents.”