“Suit yourself”: Meaning & origin + 3 example sentences

The English language contains phrases and expressions that only seem to have meaning when aligned with the proper context. For example, when someone says, “If you say so”, they could mean numerous things depending on the context. For one, they could use that to signify their indifference to whatever it was that was said, they could say that to dismiss the remark made, or could simply show that they are irate. A great way to understand what the context, and thus the meaning of an expression is, would be to pay attention to the speaker’s body language and the tone in which they use. Doing so can help you identify the meanings behind certain expressions. One such expression, is “Suit yourself”.

What does “Suit yourself” mean?

“Suit yourself” can have various meanings depending on the chosen context. For one, “Suit yourself” can simply mean that you should do whatever it is you want. Nevertheless, when most people use “Suit yourself” they tend to have either a negative or positive connotation. When “Suit yourself” is used in a positive manner, it is an invitation directed at the other person to simply do what they feel is right to them. When “Suit yourself” is used in a negative light, it simply is a way for the speaker to end the conversation. Generally, this is used when the speaker is exasperated at someone or the conversation.

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Where does “Suit yourself” originate from

While there are various sources that claim “Suit yourself” as an expression began to appear around the 1800s, there is evidence that the phrase itself is way older than that. The Oxford Dictionary states that “Suit yourself” was used in the 1500s in Britain and it also had another meaning, which was to please yourself.

The first word in the expression “Suit” means to offer something to someone in a manner that pleases them.  While the phrase can be considered idiomatic, it isn’t a metaphor. When you say something doesn’t suit you, you are basically saying that it doesn’t work for you.

Typically, when “Suit yourself” is used with a negative connotation, what you are saying is that you do not believe what that individual is doing will turn out right like they expect.

3 examples of how to use “Suit yourself” in a sentence

Using “Suit yourself” to show indifference

In this instance, you are most likely not interested in the conversation or you have no personal interest in it, so you tell the other person to do whatever it is they want in the most neutral way.

“I think I want to join the basketball team, what do you think?

Well, it’s not really something I pay attention to but if you want to, suit yourself”

OR

Person A: Hey, do you think it would be possible to wear a suit to your party? I have this big formal do I have to get to afterwards

Person B: I really don’t mind either way, so suit yourself

Using “Suit yourself” with a negative connotation

You should note that using “Suit yourself” with a negative connotation is perhaps the most popular way this phrase is used. In this instance, “Suit yourself” is utilised because you are exasperated. It can be a way of letting someone know that you are fed up with the conversation and they should do whatever it is they have set their mind to “Suit yourself”

For example,

Person A: I get what you are saying, but I still believe this issue can be best solved this way.

Person B: Alright, I have spent all day trying to convince you that what you see as the best way isn’t efficient or optimal, but it seems my words have been falling on deaf ears. So, you can simply do what you want, suit yourself.

The example above, shows that Person B is not only frustrated and acknowledging their frustration with the lack of progress and plain stubbornness of Person A, but they are also letting Person A know that in order to end the conversation, they can simply do whatever it is they want.

Using “Suit yourself” with a positive connotation

“Suit yourself” can simply be another way of telling someone to do whatever it is they feel like. This makes it perfect for positive or even neutral conversations. For instance:

Person A: Hey, do you think it would be possible to wear a suit to your party? I have this big formal do I have to get to afterwards

Person B: Yeah, that’s fine, suit yourself *proceeds to laugh at the pun*

By simply reading the example above, you can tell that the party host doesn’t mind that one of their guests is coming in a suit. They want their guests to come dressed as they want to.