The phrase is quite popular but I wish to know its origin. Is it possible that it has something to do with childbirth (also called kidding)?


Time for OED!

It seems to come from ‘make a kid of,' according to the Oxford English Dictionary.

So when I kid you, I am fooling you, and using your innocence (a childlike quality).

Or maybe I am treating you like a child.


  • +1 as I had no idea. I always assumed it came from behaving like a kid, as in I am joking around so I'm acting like a kid. – Nieszka Jun 21 '12 at 14:07

Kid is also slang for a child. So: "kidding me" could have come from "being childish with someone" or "Lying to someone" or "Childishly joking with someone" in a sense.

-Look! There's an elephant right behind you! -person turns around -Just kidding!


Captain Kidd was tried as a pirate and sentanced to death. They tried to hang him several times but each time the rope broke, the third time it held. It was said that the first two times, they were 'kidding'.

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