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I would like to know what is the origin of the expression "all over him/her like a cheap coat/suit". I Googled for it but didn't find any relevant entry. Anyone?

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    I think it must be a synonym for "unflattering". – Elliott Frisch Mar 23 '14 at 19:18
  • It's long been a cliche of Australian football to say that a player clumsily infringing another through close bodily contact, was all over him like a cheap suit. The meaning of which I took to be that while a cheap suit covers the body it does so in a clumsy inelegant manner. – Neil W Mar 23 '14 at 23:09
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I think it's mainly a BrE expression--a variant is all over him like a rash--commonly used to denote the excessive attention one person gives to another, usually when they've only just met, as a result of a sudden sexual attraction. I suppose it could be used about either sex, but I've only heard it used about a female in pursuit of a male. And the suit metaphor makes it tend that way in any case. Why it should be a "cheap suit" is less obvious, but one characteristic of an expensive suit is that you don't notice you're wearing it. If it's cheap, it's likely to be ill-fitting, made of abrasive material, and continually making its presence felt.

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  • Ngrams says it's used more often in the U.S., although it's certainly found in the U.K. as well. And I certainly recognize it. – Peter Shor Mar 24 '14 at 13:27
  • I recognize it well enough. It's got currency in the U.S. – David M Mar 24 '14 at 18:51
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There are many varients of this colorful phrase indicating unwelcome harassment: he was all over me like white on rice (popular in the South); all over him like flies on s***; all over him like stink on poop, like mud on pigs, like mustard on a hot dog, like fleas on a dog, etc.

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  • I've never seen flies on s***. Only on shit. I wonder if the asterisks attract them? ;-) – David M Mar 24 '14 at 18:52
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A quick search shows the phrase dates to at least to the 1970s, as quoted in The Miami News (Mar 23, 1974):

Exuding boyish Innocence, he described how, upon arriving at the apartment building, she had invited him for coffee and then "was all over me like a cheap suit."

It's taken from a review of a TV movie called A Case of Rape by NBC, which premiered on February 20, 1974.

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It means to cling, not to hang as an expensive suit would be crafted.

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