Banbury story of a cock and a bull

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Pub signs of The Cock and The Bull in Stony Stratford, Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, England, UK


Origin unknown. Folk history claims that this is derived from the rivalry between two inns in Stony Stratford, Buckinghamshire, England, one called “The Cock” and the other called “The Bull”, where travellers would congregate to hear fanciful stories told; one such story involved travellers destined for the city of Banbury. However, there is little evidence supporting this etymology.[1]



Banbury story of a cock and a bull (plural Banbury stories of a cock and a bull)

  1. (idiomatic, obsolete, slang, Britain) A roundabout, nonsensical story. [from about late 17th c. to early 19th c.]
    • 2003, Connie Lane [pseudonym; Constance Laux], The Viscount's Bawdy Bargain, New York, N.Y.: Pocket Books, ISBN 978-0-7434-6286-0, page 56:
      Nor was she uncaring, mean-spirited or likely to go about spreading a Banbury story of a cock and a bull.

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  1. ^ A cock and bull story” in Gary Martin, The Phrase Finder, 1997–, retrieved 28 December 2016.