I did a quick search digital, and I wasn"t able to discover an answer that was incredibly satisfying. I did uncover a creative people etymology or 2, yet there wasn"t a lot to substantiate them.
You are watching: What does it mean to stand someone up
There isn"t much to go on in the OED: To fail to keep an appointment via (someone), esp. a social engagement or ‘date’ via a member of the oppowebsite sex. colloq. (orig. U.S.).
1902 O. V. Limerick Billy Burgundy"s Opinions 57, I am awfully sorry I had to stand also you up last night.
The unexplicated definition and also timeframe is also offered by the New Partridge Thesaurus of Slang and Unstandard muzic-ivan.info and by Cassell"s Dictionary of Slang.
If you enable added prepositions into the building and construction, tbelow are a large selection of added possibilities, as the commenters note. To stand also up with someone is to dance with them; OED quotes Austen"s Pride and also Prejudice, In vain did she entreat him to stand up via somebody else. It is additionally to existing oneself for marital relationship, and also to have actually an engagement canceled at the last minute is to be left standing at the altar. From there, to stand someone up can be acquired as making a romantic promise to someone yet not adhering to with on your finish of the duty.
But to stand also up stand up alone, without other prepositions, I have the right to make some additional hypotheses. While the 1903 Slang and also Its Analogues Past and Present by John S. Farmer and W.E. Henley does not encompass the "missed date" meaning, serendipitously, I discover an entry for stander-up:
subs. phr. (Amerideserve to thieves") A thief whose speciality is robbing drunken guys under the pretence of helping them home
Stander-up also shows up in the 1897 A Dictionary of Slang, Jargon & Cant Embracing muzic-ivan.info, Amerideserve to, and Anglo-Indian Slang, Pidgin muzic-ivan.info, Gypsies" Jargon and also Other Irregular Phraseology, edited by Albert Barrère and Charles Godfrey Leland.
(Amerihave the right to thieves) a guy that robs intoxicated persons under pretence of aiding them to go residence.
They offered Chandler the name of being a stander-up of drunken men. The appropriate mode of standing-up a tipsy male, according to the rules, is to place your best arm under the left arm of the sleeper cshed to the shoulder, placing the hand also on his waistcoat, simply above his left vest pocket. As you raise him through the ideal hand also, press your hand tough versus his body so that he will not feel the watch slipping from his pocket right into your left hand. — Philadelphia Press.
Partridge"s A Thesaurus of the Underworld traces this meaning to about 1880, noting both of the above referrals, which would certainly have actually allowed time for a metaphorical definition to take host. While the robber stands up a slouching drunk in the literal feeling, both the robber and also the negative date feign an interemainder in someone only to insult them in the end. This would certainly likewise define how this deprecatory feeling can emerge also though being a stand-up perkid, or standing up to/for/against/through someone or somepoint, is largely neutral or positive.
Alternatively, a contemporaneous meaning of standup is robbery in a public location, what in more current slang we would describe as a mugging (or stickup, unassociated, from the robber"s order to stick your hands up). The abandoned date does not suffer anything so violent, of course, yet they are robbed of dignity in a public location.
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And for yet one more, one which I cannot date yet which does show up in a 1919 Saturday Evening Post write-up, to stand also up have the right to be to expense someone somepoint.
“My first-act dress will certainly stand also you up about seven and a quarter,” I told him. “And my third-act dress will certainly cost you every one of nine dollars and fifty cents.”