Take the mickey out of someone

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To take the mickey out of someone is an idiom used largely outside of the United States. It means to tease or make fun of someone. It is usually meant in a lighthearted or fun manner, not to ridicule or bash. The phrase has many variations, including take the mike out of someone, take the Michael out of someone, or take the mick out of someone.

The origin of the phrase is someone vague, but it seems to come from the name Mickey (not Mickey Mouse). Over time the capitalization was taken away, though some still use it.

The phrase has a noun form derivative of mickey-taking, which can be used as an adjective.


Tate isn’t afraid to take the mickey out of Brown and make a bit of a show of him, unlike other biopics that often have a tendency to portray their subjects in a somewhat po-faced way, victims of their own success and of unscrupulous management/hangers-on/family/etc. [Irish Independent]

“He took the Mickey out of me on a lot of things and just turned it into a bit of a joke which really helped. I can always rely on him for that but at the same time I knew he was very proud.” [Rugby Heaven]

Newcastle manager Alan Pardew enjoyed taking the mickey out of a reporter during his post match press conference, when the journalist’s mobile rang. [Daily Mail]

We’ve always taken the mickey out of him a bit for getting over 100 kg and the boys rip into him a bit, but he’s elite with his skin folds now. [Yahoo News AU]

Footballer entourages are traditionally cast as negative distractions but Bale’s party seems to provide the ideal counterbalance to his superstar public life – lots of good-natured mickey-taking and support, basically. [The Telegraph]

That phrase has come back to haunt me on many mickey-taking occasions since. [Belfast Telegraph]