I'm reading The Lives of Christopher Chant by Diana Wynne Jones, and someone says to a stranger who is helping him, "You'll know me again, young lady." What does that mean?

I think it must be a British English idiom, because Google says that "you'll know me again" is also used in Salome and the Head and Bleak House. But I don't know those works well enough to triangulate a meaning.

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    It's a fixed expression, but not an idiom, as there is no veiled meaning. [What we have just gone through together is so memorable, remarkable, ingrained on our memories, that] you'll never forget me [and recognise me at once should our paths cross again]. Rather formal for conversational English (which it obviously is), and rather dated. Oct 12, 2020 at 14:46
  • Thanks Edwin! That makes more sense now. If I understand you correctly, it is not really saying, "You're staring," but more acknowledging the intensity of the interaction? So that's why the Bleak House usage is kind of sarcastic, and nobody needs to apologise for staring after it's been said?
    – E-Ching
    Oct 15, 2020 at 5:16
  • Wry rather than sarcastic. Oct 15, 2020 at 18:03

1 Answer 1


In the Bleak House extract, Mrs. Snagsby gives Weevle 'a searching glance'. Presumably the young lady in your book had been looking closely at the man she was helping.

I don't remember hearing anyone say it in real life, but the expression means 'You are staring so hard at me that you are sure to recognise me if we meet again.'

  • I can remember people saying it occasionally but I haven't heard it in a long time. Possibly we've become less sensitive to being stared at than we used to be. Either that or we've become so self-obsessed that we just take it as normal; or we've replaced it with the more aggressive "Who d'ye think you're looking at?"
    – BoldBen
    Oct 12, 2020 at 8:22
  • Doesn't it look like a threat that 'You know the kind of person I am, and (if you don't...) you will know me again'? Just a doubt.
    – Ram Pillai
    Oct 12, 2020 at 8:51
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    @RamPillai No, I don't think it does. Oct 12, 2020 at 10:11
  • From what you're saying, it sounds like an appropriate response would be to apologise for staring. But that doesn't happen in any of the three cases, so I'm a little confused. Have I misunderstood?
    – E-Ching
    Oct 12, 2020 at 12:55
  • Well, Mr. Weevle only says it 'to himself' rather than be openly rude to a woman. It's something you would say sarcastically, not necessarily expecting an apologetic reply. I don't know the circumstances in the Wynne Jones story. Oct 12, 2020 at 13:30

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