All About The Term “Caught Red Handed”

All About The Term "Caught Red Handed"
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Today, we are going to learn all about the term “Caught Red Handed.” This is a phrase or term, that people often use. It is used when referring to someone who has been caught dead right. Or someone who has been caught doing something wrong with sufficient evidence for all to see.

But where exactly did this idiom come from? What country did it originate from? Who started using the term and coined to mean getting caught completely without doubt?




The Origin Of The Idiom

According to history, the term ‘caught red handed’ originated in Scotland. It is said to have its roots there as early as the 1400s. This phrased was used around the 15th century, for people who were caught with ‘blood on their hands.’ But, the phrases used were ‘redhand’ or ‘red hand.’ The Scottish Acts of Parliament of James I, are the first documented instances of the term ‘red hand’ being used.’ That took place back in the year 1432.


As time went by, the idiom continued to be used more and more. In fact, in Scotland, it was ultimately used in several legal proceedings. During these instances, it was almost always in reference to someone who was caught in the act of doing something criminal. Later on, the expression began to morph into ‘red handed’ from the idiom ‘red hand.’ Sir Walter Scott used the term in his work Ivanhoe which was written in the 19th century. That was the first instance where the phrase was ever documented to begin to change.


Perhaps you may be interested in knowing Punctuation and How People Began To Use It In English


Who Was Caught Red Handed?

In the early 1400s, there was a lot of poaching going on all over. Those people in Scotland who were caught poaching an animal, usually had blood on their hands. That is how the term became popular. It was those who were stealing or poaching animals, who were caught ‘red handed’ by others. Soon after, Sir Walter Scott made the phrase more popular and a larger audience began to use it.


The Popularity of The Phrase

Today, the term caught red handed is very popular. There was even a Television show, bearing the same name. It was aired during the years 2012 to 2013, on the American reality TV channel, TruTV. Countless of people around the world often use the term as well. Each time, they use it when they refer to someone who has been caught stealing or doing something wrong. This day, no one wants to be accused of being caught red handed.


Don’t miss finding out Where Did The Term Nicknames Come From?


Should The Hyphen Be Included?

Some people debate whether or not the term red handed should contain a hyphen on it. In truth, in order for it to be correctly and properly rendered, it should be done with a hyphen. That means ‘red-handed’ is the correct way to use it. But, you can still use it without the hyphen in either case.