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Play the white man

Play the white man is a phrase used in parts of Britain meaning to be decent and trustworthy in one's actions.[1] The phrase is commonly used by natives of the Yorkshire and the Humber region.[2]

A similar expression, originating in the southern United States in the 20th century, is That's mighty white of you and variations, with the meaning of "thank you for being fair". This phrase is racist in origin, with "white" referring to the white racial classification. Because of its racist connotations, since the mid-to-late 20th century it has mostly been used ironically when used at all.[3][4][5]

See also


  1. ^ "Complaint made over Mayor of Erewash's 'racist comment' at council meeting". Nottingham Post. Retrieved 14 November 2018.
  2. ^ Smitherman, G (2006). Words and Expressions, Proverbs and Familiar Sayings. Word from the mother (pp. 45). Routledge: New York.
  3. ^ "White". Merriam-Webster online. Retrieved June 12, 2019.
  4. ^ Partridge, Eric (1992). Dictionary of Catch Phrases. Scarborough House. p. 60. ISBN 978-0812885361.
  5. ^ Oxford English Dictionary, cited at Dave Wilton (18 February 2007). "that's white of you". Wordorigins. Retrieved June 12, 2019.

External links

Google Books Ngram Viewer