Get off my lawn is a popular phrase in America, closely associated with the stereotype of a grumpy, sour faced homeowner who is mad at children playing in his yard, forgetting the fact that he himself used to be a child playing in other people’s lawns.
Today, the expression is used as a tool to parody people who enjoy complaining, especially about youths.
A yard lawn used to be a symbol for wealth ever since the middle ages, when wasting a plot of land on maintaining a lawn was costly and illogical.
The expression appeared in the US, following the end of World War 2, and the introduction of affordable lawnmowers and suburban housing with tiny yards.
During the 1950’s these neighborhoods were swarmed with families, whose men were busy maintaining the grass and shouting “get off my lawn” to their neighbors’ children.
By the 70’s the generation that was shouted at became the ones, they themselves used to despise, screaming “get off my lawn” to the new generation of kids playing on the streets, running across yards.
The phrase became truly iconic and popular after David Letterman made it one of his comic taglines in the 1980’s.
“Get off my lawn” would serve as the inspiration of many songs, like the Rolling Stones’ Get Off My Cloud, as well as appearing in iconic shows and movies like Gran Torino.
It was first defined on Urban Dictionary in 2003.
- LawnStarter – ‘Get Off My Lawn!’ How a Catchphrase Was Born and Grumpily Lives on
- Orlando Sentinel – Beyond the snarl of ‘Get off my lawn’
- Newsweek – You’re 100 Percent Wrong About: ‘Get Off My Lawn!’