Talk:There's a sucker born every minute

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Linked to from ESPN Page2: (Why they needed a link for this phrase, I have no idea.)

  • I have nothing to contribute to this page, however I thought it was funny that when I searched for "Every 10 Minutes" for information on Pepsi's XBox 360 giveaway sweepstakes this wiki was the first result. I wonder if Pepsi's board had a laugh about this aptly named (and very popular) sweepstakes
  • I bumped into this page while researching an article that I'm writing about Adam Forepaugh. I gave it a pretty good re-writing. I found several sources for the Forepaugh angle, most notably Joe 19:44, 11 October 2005 (UTC)

--- Nice work, Joe! It is now an entertaining and interesting article. I'm glad that closer to Wiki's quality standards, so should survive any other attempt at deletion. The phrase is very well known, so it merits an article, and a discussion of the mis-attribution to Barnum. Javaman59 (talk) 03:10, 28 September 2010 (UTC)

This is not a reliable source by Wikipedia standards. I see that someone copy-pasted the whole thing into the article, which is clearly a copyright violation (no authorization to copy) and plagiarism (no source given), so I have removed it. --Macrakis (talk) 00:30, 28 January 2012 (UTC)

Articles for Deletion debate[edit]

This article survived an Articles for Deletion debate. The discussion can be found here. Owen× 22:00, 3 December 2005 (UTC)

The whole quote[edit]

The whole quote is rarely published. It is,

"There's a sucker born every minute...and two to take 'em!"

I believe the main reason for this is a lack of understanding of it's meaning. "Two to take 'em," refers to "two confidence men per sucker."

URL problem[edit]

The URL for this page is:

I'm having a problem linking to it. My guess is the "%" character is causing the problem. These garbage characters "%27" should not be in the URL and I recommend that it be changed. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Nancy Nickies (talkcontribs) 18:16, 19 February 2007 (UTC).

The %27 is an escape code. It is the numeric value of a character that might be misinterpreted at some point in the process of fetching the web-page, if it weren't escaped. Different special characters each have their own code. A blank space's numeric value is 32, represented as %20. The escape codes all use base 16 -- hexadecimal. %27 is the escape for a single quote. %28 and %29 are the escapes for the left and right parentheses. Geo Swan 00:49, 15 June 2007 (UTC)


This article is nice, but what exactly does this phrase mean? Sucker as in mammal, or sucker as in cop, or sucker as in someone who just plain sucks?

In this context a "sucker" is someone who has been fooled, someone who has fallen for a trick. Implied is that the sucker has lost money. -- Geo Swan 00:49, 15 June 2007 (UTC)


This article looks as if it was written from a singular perspective with a highly biased opinion. ⒺⓋⒾⓁⒼⓄⒽⒶⓃ talk 03:58, 15 November 2008 (UTC)

Comments like this frustrate me. If you are going to claim bias, please be specific. We don't know in what direction User:Evilgohan2 thinks the article is biased. And now we have no idea if whatever concern they had has been addressed. Geo Swan (talk) 02:09, 1 February 2012 (UTC)

Meta-ness of the phrase[edit]

The article tees up, but does not directly address, the "meta-ness" of the mis-attribution: Like the suckers in the phrase, evidently we've all been hoodwinked into associating the phrase with the wrong utterer. —LawrenceDavidSander (talk) 04:50, 27 April 2012 (UTC)

Who said that?[edit]

I got here from the article Cardiff Giant, which states "David Hannum was quoted as saying, "There's a sucker born every minute"", and as soon as i come to this article, first line stats "it was actually said by his opponent Hull". So Hannum or Hull? --Spec (talk) 02:49, 22 May 2012 (UTC)

Earlier versions[edit]

I added an 1806 citation from Google Books for "there's a fool born every minute". There are also a number of hits from 1839 through 1873 for "there's a flat born every minute", which appears to have the same sense:

Man may be fairly styled an animal of the class "gullible." From the hour of his birth till the day of his death, never does the organ of credulity cease to bump out his cerebrum. It is a common saying among the legs of the turf, that "there is a flat born every minute." No dictum can be based on better grounds. Man appears to glory in being swindled.—"Anatomy of the Chess Automaton", Fraser's Magazine, June 1839[1]

Evank (talk) 17:41, 11 September 2013 (UTC)

"every minute" portion[edit]

I wonder if this comes from the statistical rate of growth of the population at the time the phrase was first used: in other words, it was saying, given that the world birth rate was one per minute (which maybe was true in the 19th century) that everyone is a sucker.--Jrm2007 (talk) 10:27, 3 March 2014 (UTC)

  1. ^ Fraser's Magazine for Town and Country. James Fraser. 1839. pp. 717–. Retrieved 11 September 2013.