And other variations. I know those are also lyrics from a RATM song, but does anyone know where it originates?
The oldest source that I know of this expression is from the military, when new recruits begin boot camp and the drill Sargent has them lined up, giving them initial instructions on how it’s going to be. They’re usually trying to be very intimidating and forceful, letting the recruits know that it’s going to be hard and that they must follow every order/instruction to perfection. Part of the spiel always includes, “when I say jump, you say how high!”
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It’s just an old, old, expression, meaning someone has another person wrapped around their finger: You say “jump” and they are so eager to please you, they say, “how high?” It’s just an old saying.