Why do flight attendants sit on their hands

The phrase “sit on your hands” has nothing to do with the flight attendants.

Flight attendants are known for many things, including their charming smiles and kind words. They’re also known for their penchant for hand gestures, which often comes across as them sitting on their hands. But the phrase “sit on your hands” has nothing to do with flight attendants. The phrase is actually a play on words that dates back to Shakespeare’s time.

What does “sit on your hands” mean?

The phrase “sit on your hands” is an idiom that means to abstain from doing something, or to remain idle or inactive. It dates back to Shakespearean times, when it was used as a euphemism for masturbation.

Where does the idiom come from?

“Sit on your hands” has its roots in William Shakespeare’s play Henry IV Part 1, which was first performed in 1597. In Act 3 Scene 1 of this play, Falstaff is talking about a man who is trying very hard not to laugh at his joke:

“‘If he laugh I’ll transfix him; if he weep I’ll drown him; if he do anything but sit still I’ll murder him.’ He sits still and weeps.”

“‘He sits still and laughs,’ quoth Doll Tearsheet.”

“‘That’s because he’s mad,’ said Mistress Quickly.”

“And so they argue about what it means when someone “sits still and laughs” until Doll finally explains that “it means he will not be governed by reason.” This was considered a risqué topic in Shakespeare’s time and the euphemism allowed people to talk about it without offending anyone.

“Sit upon” had been used as a euphemism for sex since at least 1450 so “sit upon one’s hand” could have been a reference to masturbation or simply meant remaining idle while someone else did all the work.