Think in English with Adah

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A Phrase A Week: If the shoe fits, wear it!

Meaning

If a description applies to you, then accept it.

 This expression is often used when something derogatory is said about a person who then complains to a third person. The third person, if they agree with the original negative comment, might suggest “If the shoe fits, then wear it”.

Origin

“If the shoe fits, wear it” is often shortened to “If the shoe fits…”, leaving the listener to fill in the blank. The expression is the American version of the earlier British phrase “If the cap fits, wear it”, which is also still in general use.

The change from cap to shoe may well have been influenced by the Cinderella story, which has a snug-fitting slipper as the primary plot device. Versions of the tale that include the “lost slipper” scenario were well known in the USA and Europe by 1773. “If the shoe fits” has been used for centuries in a figurative sense and its most common usage now is in shoe shop advertising slogans.

Example

Jack: Just because I’ve missed two or three sessions, my fitness trainer says I lack motivation.

Jill: Well, if the shoe fits, wear it.