Jump on the bandwagon

A wagon, but not a bandwagon, pic: © Andrew Kazmierski | Dreamstime.com

Jumping on the bandwagon generally does not involve any actual leaps in the air, nor does it involve real, good old bandwagons.

Rather the expression means that somebody joins a movement or supports something (e.g. cause) after this movement/cause has become popular and many others have joined already.  It implies a certain level of opportunism.  Trend-setters generally do not jump on bandwagons.

The origin of this is somewhat longish: in the olden days (as in the 19th century) bandwagons were used by the circus bands.  The bandwagons were decorated and fun and attracted the attention of the citizens during parades.  In a next step politicians figured out  that what works for circus performers might well work for them as well.  So they started using decorates bandwagons in their campaigns.  The jumped on the bandwagon.

An usage example:

“All the major dairy manufactures have jumped on the bandwagon and are now producing fat-free yogurts.”

The “bandwagon effect” is also used in economics to describe that people often do and believe things merely because many other people do and believe the same things.

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