Nobody puts Baby in the corner: Meaning & Origin

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What does nobody puts Baby in the corner mean?

While this may seem like a peculiar expression, and it probably doesn’t make much sense at first, there’s actually quite a profound meaning to it.

Meaning of ‘Nobody Puts Baby In The Corner’

The meaning behind the phrase ‘nobody puts baby in the corner’ is that no one with talent should be stopped from expressing it or showing it off. It’s about self-expression – about enabling anyone to be their best self, and a striking call against anyone who strives to keep people’s potential at bay.

The expression alludes to an idea that people shouldn’t let circumstances stop them from achieving success and to not shy away from expressing their true talents. There could be many factors that are possibly stopping someone from showcasing their talents: expectations of loved ones, undervaluing one’s abilities or even stage fright.

But, regardless, one should overcome these obstacles and always be their best self. After all – nobody puts baby in a corner.

Origin Of ‘Nobody Puts Baby In The Corner’

This expression has a rather modern and cinematic origin. When the cult classic ‘Dirty Dancing’ written by Eleanor Bergstein and released in 1987, no one could have imagined the cultural impact it was going to have. Apart from delivering an iconic dancing scene that has etched its way into cinematic glory, the movie also gave rise to the expression, ‘Nobody Puts Baby In The Corner’.

The relevance of both the movie and this line stands strong to this day.

The movie is about a teenage girl named Baby or Frances ‘Baby’ Houseman played by Jennifer Grey, who goes on a vacation with her parents to a resort. During her vacation, she learns dancing from an instructor named Johnny Castle who was played by Patrick Swayze and they soon develop a romantic relationship. As the movie progresses, Baby is supposed to be performing a final dance but her parents are angry at her.

Hence, Baby’s father and mother forced her to sit at a table, which also happened to be in a corner. As Baby is resting her head against a column while the night goes by Johnny sees her and says ‘Nobody puts baby in a corner’. He then goes on to pull her out of the corner and then they perform a dance together on the dance floor.

While doing so he is also telling her that she is special and she doesn’t deserve to be hidden away in a corner – rather, she deserves to be in the spotlight. The dance ended up becoming iconic.

Because of the popularity of the movie, most people use this line as a reference to the movie in general, when they’re about to re-enact the dance or while joking when there’s an actual baby in a corner.

As most quotes go, this famous line has been misquoted as well. The original ‘nobody puts baby in a corner’ has been replaced by ‘nobody puts baby in the corner’.

To summarize, ‘Nobody puts Baby in the corner’ is a famous movie quote from the final scene of the 1987 movie, Dirty Dancing. (It’s not the only common saying taken from, or at least made popular by, a movie: Discover the meaning of pennies from heaven.)

Examples of using ‘Nobody Puts Baby In A Corner’

  1. Nobody puts Baby in the corner! Jessica Biel made quite an entrance for her appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show on Thursday, September 14, by nailing the iconic lift from the movie Dirty Dancing. After successfully recreating the dance move, she even credited her husband Justin Timberlake for helping her practice it at home. –US Weekly
  2. How can you stop her from performing? Nobody puts baby in the corner.
  3. Even after facing his family’s wrath, he said ‘nobody puts baby in the corner’ and went on to pursue his dream of acting in tv shows.
  4. Pointing at his baby Jon, he said: “nobody puts baby in the corner” while his family rolled their eyes in unison.
  5. Clara and Jon, before going on stage looked into each others’ eyes and said “nobody puts baby in the corner!” and went on to win the dance contest.
  6. As a young woman, Jane faced a lot of backlash for pursuing her dream career in hairstyling but she didn’t let people put baby in a corner and learned a lot from her co-workers to create trending and fashionable hairstyles.
  7. She couldn’t participate in her high school talent show but her parents told her that ‘nobody puts baby in the corner’ and she had the time of her life while performing for her fellow students.
  8. As it was said in the movie Dirty Dancing,’ nobody puts baby in the corner’ John exclaimed before beginning the final dance routine from the movie with his girlfriend.
  9. Nobody puts Baby in a corner” is still one of the greatest lines of all time. When Johnny pulls Baby out of the shadows and onto the stage, we still somehow have all the feels. –USA Today

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