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Probably an allusion to the flirtatious practice by some young women, especially in the first half of the twentieth century, of raising a long skirt sufficiently to reveal a bare ankle but no more than that.


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show ankle

  1. (idiomatic) To provide a hint or to reveal partial information in order to gain attention or arouse interest.
    • 1984 Nov. 28, William Beecher, "Reagan under Pressure to Modify Arms Stance," Boston Globe (USA), page 1:
      "He figures that to do so, he'll have to be able to show a little ankle, to give some idea of new positions the United States is prepared to take."
    • 1987 Nov. 23, "Suddenly, A Visit by Cuomo Enlivens a Benefit For Casey," Philadelphia Inquirer (USA), page B01:
      No one expects Cuomo to declare his candidacy tonight But Carduff said "we expect him to show some ankle".
    • 2005 June 7, Erin Joyce, "SQL Server 2005 Queues Up for Prime Time," (USA) (retrieved 5 Sep. 2011):
      Microsoft showed some ankle and then some with advanced tools, database and server features in the latest builds of SQL Server 2005, Visual Studio 2005 and BizTalk Server 2006.
    • 2006 Oct. 18, "On the right track," The Telegraph (UK) (retrieved 5 Sep. 2011):
      Now, it seems, the shadow chancellor, George Osborne, is ready to show a little ankle by welcoming a proposal from Lord Forsyth's tax commission to abolish stamp duty on shares.
    • 2011 Aug. 12, "Football & Sport: Manchester United: A Comparison of Sneijder, Cantona, Scholes And Ronaldo," Sabotage Times (UK) (retrieved 5 Sep. 2011):
      Sneijder showed some ankle last week with a veiled ‘come and get me’ plea that was promptly rebuffed by David Gill stating that the deal probably won’t go ahead now.

Usage notesEdit

  • Usually used with intervening words between show and ankle which characterize the amount of "ankle" shown, such as a little, some, a lot of, etc.