cock-and-bull story

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Unknown. The phrase is noted as similar in meaning and form to French coq-à-l'âne (satire, incoherent story, literally cock to the ass) which was borrowed into Scots as cockalane.[1]

Pronunciation[edit]

  • (file)

Noun[edit]

cock-and-bull story (plural cock-and-bull stories)

  1. (idiomatic) A far-fetched and fanciful story or tale of highly dubious validity.
    • 1851, Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chapter 13:
      The grinning landlord, as well as the boarders, seemed amazingly tickled at the sudden friendship which had sprung up between me and Queequeg—especially as Peter Coffin’s cock and bull stories about him had previously so much alarmed me concerning the very person whom I now companied with.
    • 1912, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Lost World[1]:
      "Challenger was the man who came with some cock-and-bull story from South America." "What story?" "Oh, it was rank nonsense about some queer animals he had discovered."

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References[edit]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Michael Quinion (17 May 2008), “Cock and bull story”, in World Wide Words.