gazelle in the garden

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Possibly from an Arabic word that means both beard and garden. This etymology is incomplete. You can help Wiktionary by elaborating on the origins of this term.


gazelle in the garden

  1. (euphemistic, colloquial) Used during a meal to alert a family member or friend that they have a crumb on their face.
    • 1990, Judith Roman, Annie Adams Fields: the spirit of Charles Street, page 12:
      The other ubiquitous anecdote, told by Harvard undergraduates who enjoyed poking gentle fun at the stately and aged Mrs. Fields, describes Annie saying "There's a gazelle in the garden" when she noticed food in her husband's beard at the dinner table.
    • 1922, Ernest Wadsworth Longfellow, Random memories, page 35:
      If he got a crumb lodged in his beard, she would say, "Jamie, dear, there is a gazelle in the garden," which amused his friends and became a household expression in our family.
    • 1956, Louise Hall Tharp, ', page 254
      At one of their literary dinners, should a crumb get caught in the luxuriant Fields beard — "There's a gazelle in the garden, Jamie," his wife would say.

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