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These words first applied to fish rising to the bait. Writers on the art of angling popularized the word rise in this sense 300 years ago, and the metaphor from fly-fishing became standard English. Just as the fish rises to the bait and is caught, the person who rises to the lure of a practical joke becomes the butt of it. From its original meaning of raising a laugh at someone's expense, the expression has been extended to include the idea of attracting attention in general -- getting a rise out of a sales prospect, etc.

Hendrickson, R. (1998) QPB Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins. Facts On File, Inc., New York.

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