with bells on

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with bells on, Language Skills Abroad
Ready to celebrate, eagerly, as in Of course I’ll come; I’ll be there with bells on . This metaphoric expression alludes to decorating oneself or one’s clothing with little bells for some special performance or occasion. A well-known nursery rhyme has: “See a fine lady upon a white horse, Rings on her fingers and bells on her toes, And she shall have music wherever she goes” (in Gammer Gurton’s Garland , 1784).
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with bells on, Language Skills Abroad

– Bells that were added decoratively to the harnesses of horses in parades and especially in circuses or other gala circumstances, as depicted on old Christmas cards and the like. Someone coming to a party ‘with bells on’ wasn’t just coming, he was planning to come in with a flourish to boost the festive spirit.

“I’m waiting for the Marchese Ferdinando Emanuele Maria Bonaventura Donzati.” “With knobs on,” agreed Gemma airily. “Who’s he?”

with bells on — adjective With eager anticipation and enthusiasm. How about a BBQ at our house, Saturday June 14th, 4pm? … Wiktionary
with bells on — adv. phr. informal With enthusiasm; eager or ready and in the best of spirits for an event. Will you come to the farewell party I m giving for Billy? asked Jerry. I ll be there with bells on, replied Ed … Словарь американских идиом

Post by Grizzly » Wed Feb 16, 2005 8:34 pm
( Cassell’s Dictionary of Slang, American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms, Dictionary of American Slang by Chapman)