Why do we say that?


When we say that someone is "blowing his own trumpet" we mean that he is singing his own praises or boasting of something he has done. But where does the expression come from?

The obvious allusion is to heralds, who in mediaeval times announced the arrival of a great personage with a fanfare of trumpets - without the luxury of heralds, the fanfare becomes a do-it-yourself enterprise. Another theory is that the reference is to a statue of "Fame" on the parapet of Wilton House in Wiltshire, England, originally erected in 1647, which held a trumpet in each hand; of course, these theories are not mutually exclusive, as the statue itself may have been a sly reference to the employment of heralds.

Curiously, however, despite the origin appearing to be either mediaeval or seventeenth-century (or both), the earliest use of this expression appears to be 1854.

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