Aug 28, 2012

Wordology, Called on the Carpet

To be called 'on the carpet', i.e. for reprimand by superior, is likely an early 1900's, American colloquial, from one's uncarpeted work area to carpeted offices of one's superior.

During the early 1700s it also referred to a cloth (carpet) covering a conference table and therefore came to mean "under consideration or discussion." In 19th-century America, however, carpet meant "floor covering," and the expression, first recorded in 1902, alluded to being called before or reprimanded by a person rich or powerful enough to have a carpet.