Today I continue my fascination with idioms. These sayings add so much colour to our interesting language.
This week’s idiom should be familiar to most people:
… to climb on the bandwagon…
This saying is used in many contexts and in particularly popular with our press and news broadcasters.
“To climb (or jump) on the bandwagon” means to support another person, group, organisation or cause in order to achieve some personal gain or advantage.
It seems that the origin of this popular saying lies in early American political campaigns. Electioneering in America has always been an upbeat affair, usually accompanied by music (pun intended). A political rally would be announced by a musical band on a horse-drawn wagon which would be taken through the streets of the town. As the procession proceeded through the town supporters would climb on the wagon with the band, joining the candidate and showing their allegiance. Not all who climbed aboard were loyal supporters; some were there only to gain favour if the candidate was successful.
Things haven’t changed all that much. Still we have those who will “climb on the bandwagon” in order to “feather their own nest.”
Wikipedia has some interesting extra things to say, particularly on on what is called “the bandwagon effect” as used in science (click here).