Tell it to the marines
Tell it to the marines is a scornful, incredulous response to the teller of a story, indicating that the story is far-fetched or untrue. It was first cited in 1804 in a seafaring novel, The Post Captain, by John Davis (1774-1854) when a British naval captain says to one of his lieutenants, “You may tell that to the marines … may I be damned if the sailors will believe it.” This was a very popular book at the time and the expression tell it to the marines soon became a catchphrase for incredulity. Sir Walter Scott popularised the catchphrase even more when he used it in his novel Redgauntlet in 1824. The marines referred to are the Royal Marines and there was always a contingent of these soldiers aboard Royal Navy ships in those days. The relationship between sailors and marines was cordial and jocularly competitive, but there was a prevailing belief amongst sailors that the marines were very gullible and would believe anything that sailors told them. The contention that tell it to the marines was coined by Charles II in a conversation with Samuel Pepys is apocryphal.