What Does Nobody Puts Baby in the Corner Mean?

Nobody Puts Baby in the Corner Meaning

Definition: Nobody should force a talented person to not participate in an activity by using their talent.

Origin of Nobody Puts Baby in the Corner

This expression is a famous quote from the 1987 film Dirty Dancing. This film is about a young woman, named Baby, who went on vacation with her parents to a resort. She learns to dance from one of the dancing instructors there, Johnny, and they develop a romantic relationship.

At the end of the vacation, Baby was supposed to perform a dance, but her parents were angry with her. Therefore, they were forcing her to sit with them at a table, in the corner. Johnny sees her there, and utters the iconic line Nobody puts baby in a corner. He then pulls her out of the corner so that they can do their dance together. This dance is also famous.

People usually quote this line when they want to reference this movie, or as a joke when there is an actual baby in a corner. However, they can also use it in a more general sense to mean that no one should force another person to sit out of an activity that they want to join.

People often misquote this as nobody puts baby in the corner, but in the movie itself, the phrase is nobody puts baby in a corner.

Other forms of entertainment, such as the television show Veronica Mars and the band Fall Out Boy have used this quote in a TV episode and song, respectively.

Examples of Nobody Puts Baby in the Corner

nobody puts baby in the corner movie In this conversation, two high school students are babysitting one of the girl’s cousins.

Lisa: Where is your cousin? She was just crawling on the kitchen floor a moment ago.

Annie: I’m not sure. Now that she learned how to walk, she’s so fast. Oh, here she is. Maybe I’ll just put her in her playpen in the corner so we don’t have to watch her so closely.

Lisa: Nobody puts baby in a corner!

no one puts baby in the cornerIn the dialogue below, two friends talk about whether or not they’ll be able to compete at their soccer game.

Seth: I’m about to go on a run as part of my training regiment to get ready for Saturday’s soccer game. Care to join me?

Jimmy: No thanks. The coach told me that I wouldn’t be able to play. I think he’s still mad at me for that argument we had a few weeks ago.

Seth: Are you serious? Just tell him, “Nobody puts Baby in a corner” and then walk onto the field to play the game.

Jimmy: Thanks for the advice, but I doubt that would work.

More Examples

This excerpt is from an article about the 30-year anniversary of Dirty Dancing, and why the movie still resonates today.

  • “Nobody puts Baby in a corner” is still one of the greatest lines of all time.

When Johnny pulls Baby out of the shadows and onto the stage, we still somehow have all the feels. –USA Today

This excerpt is about an actress who did a famous dance move from Dirty Dancing while appearing on a talk show.

  • Nobody puts Baby in the corner! Jessica Biel made quite an entrance for her appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show on Thursday, September 14, by nailing the iconic lift from the movie Dirty Dancing. After successfully recreating the dance move, she even credited her husband Justin Timberlake for helping her practice it at home. –US Weekly


The expression nobody puts Baby in a corner is a well-known quote from the 1987 movie Dirty Dancing.