[19C+] in a wide variety of combs. this means to act, to pose as, to attempt to be; it is always constrained by a n., e.g. come the artful, come the paddy etc. The word ‘old’ is often inserted between the phr. and the defining n., e.g. come the old soldier; see combs. below and at relevant n.
see also under relevant n. or adj.
come the after game
[image of those who analyse a sporting fixture after the game, when they naturally know better than those who actually had to play it]
[1920s+] (Aus.) to be full of opinions and predictions, after the event.
[mid–late 19C] to pose as a member of a superior class to that to which one actually belongs.
come the (old) bag
[1920s] (orig. milit.) to bluff, to ‘try it on’.
come the old man
[to pretend to infirm old age, or naut. use of old man, the captain]
[late 19C] to act in a lazy manner, to shirk one’s duties.
come the old soldier
(alsocome the old sailor, tin soldier, play the old soldier, put the old soldier, soldier) [the skills of a veteran who, supposedly, knows every trick when it comes to avoiding onerous duties. Ware also cites the rash of beggars who proliferated in London after Waterloo (1815), all claiming to have taken part in the battle. Note naut. jargon soldier, a poor or lazy seaman, a shirker]
[18C+] to deceive another for one’s own benefit, esp. to avoid an unpleasant task.