age before beauty

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age before beauty

  1. (idiomatic) A phrase said to allow older people to go before younger ones.
    • 1938 September 16, John Carter, “Best Sellers and the Atlantic”, in The Spectator, page 448:
      It is recorded that Mrs. Parker and a snooty debutante were both going in to supper at a party: the debutante made elaborate way, saying sweetly "Age before beauty, Mrs. Parker." "And pearls before swine," said Mrs. Parker, sweeping in.

Usage notes[edit]

Now most often used humorously or lightheartedly, and usually said by a younger person to an older friend or relative out of mock pity (for being so much older and unattractive – even if such is not the case). In most instances it would be considered rude for a younger man to say this to an older woman.