“He who smelt it, dealt it”

“He who smelt it, dealt it.”

This saying is a comment in response to an accusation that one has passed gas, and is more or less a way of saying that the accuser is the guilty one and only looking to place the blame on someone else to avoid the embarrassment of owning up to it. This phrase is usually used when in groups of three or more, and usually entails someone smelling a foul odor and calling the offender out on it. My informant said that one of his brothers told him this phrase when he was younger, as well as the follow-up phrase that “whoever denied it, supplied it.” It’s basically a way of humiliating each other and making light of a natural bodily function that is otherwise unseemly.

Theoretically it could be labeled as a proverb in that it implies that whoever brings up an unspoken problem is likely at fault for it, and the same can  be said for anyone who denies having caused the problem. However, to this collector’s knowlege it doesn’t usually come up outside of the specific situation of passing gas.

 Annotated: This saying was used as a joke with a double meaning in season 2, episode 16 of South Park, in which the protagonists were trying to find who was to blame for the recent trend of telemarketers taking advantage of elderly people by selling over-priced jewelry. The gold jewelry would be given to their relatives, who would sell it to the pawn shops, who would then smelt it down to be remade into new jewelry to be sold again. The joke was that the smelters were at fault for the entire scheme, hence “he who smelt it dealt it.”