If the Shoe Fits, Wear It

Also:
If the cap fits, wear it,
If the shoe/cap fits (shortened version)

Meaning of Idiom ‘If the Shoe Fits, Wear It’

If the shoe fits, wear it means that if a negative or insulting description or criticism applies to you, you should accept it; more rarely, if any description applies to you, accept it. 1Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.,2Spears, Richard A. McGraw-Hill’s American Idioms Dictionary. Boston: McGraw Hill, 2008.


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Usage

This idiom is most often shortened to just ‘if the shoe fits’ or ‘if the cap fits.’

This idiom is most often used in regards to negative descriptions or things people would rather not believe about themselves. It is, however, on occasion, used in a more general way.

Examples Of Use

“Some people say that I’m really negative and critical,” said Christine. “If the shoe fits, wear it,” replied Danah.

“Why does mom think I can’t keep a job?” asked Dylan. “Because you never stick to anything,” said Ellen. “If the shoe fits…”

“Eddie has always been a very compulsive person but he will never admit it. I told him if the cap fits he ought to wear it.”

“I did not say that Mr. Farmer was a crook. But if the shoe fits..”

Origin

If the shoe fits, wear it is a later American version of the much earlier English idiom ‘if the cap fits, wear it,’ dating from the early 1700s. This idiom originally referred to a fool’s cap.

A fool’s cap (foolscap) was a brightly colored cap or hood which usually had several dropping peaks from which bells hung. This cap was worn by a court jester or ‘fool.’ The idiom, then, alludes to one accepting that they are a fool.

It is believed that the more current and common ‘shoe’ version was influenced by the Cinderella story in which the prince found Cinderella by confirming that the glass slipper she had left behind fit her foot. 3Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.

More Idioms Starting with I

More Fit Idioms

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Sources   [ + ]

1. Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.
2. Spears, Richard A. McGraw-Hill’s American Idioms Dictionary. Boston: McGraw Hill, 2008.
3. Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.