Often when someone wants to make a point that they are really experienced in the field they say something along the lines of, "I've been in this line of work for as long as your age, get off my lawn you kittens" or they'd name an antique computer's name and say "My first program was on PDP-11, get off my lawn" (When they want to say I'm a very experienced programmer).

What is the connection of owning a lawn and being very experienced and where do kittens fit in? What is the history of this phrase?


It's an American phrase and comes from the idea of a retired old man who takes excellent care of his front yard or lawn: mowing it often, no weeds, trimming the edges. Kids, sometimes accompanied by dogs, may want to run through it or play on it, which can damage it. So the old man shakes his fist or cane at the kids saying, "Get off my lawn!" He's often also upset at "excessive" noise, or any noise from children really!

It sounds like the usage you're hearing is that of very experienced people who are cranky at being told something they already know. In essence, they want younger/newer people to respect their knowledge and experience. They may also resent someone newer working on projects or systems that they consider their domain/area of expertise.


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