phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

Phrases, Sayings and Idioms Home > Discussion Forum

Re: A bull in a china shop

Posted by Masakim on March 13, 2003

In Reply to: Re: A bull in a china shop posted by R. Berg on March 13, 2003

: : Can you please tell me where/how this phrase originated? Thank you...Sax

: The Oxford English Dictionary says very little about it and gives an example of its use from 1841. The phrase may be older than that.

Bull in a China Shop, Like a. Out of place in a siyuation; dealing too roughly with a delicate problem. It's a vivid simile, even though it is most unlikely that a real bull was loose in a china shop. Since the fine porcelain known as china was not introduced into urope until the 16th century and was not manufactured there until the 18th century, the notion of a bull in a china shop is fairly recent. An early example is in Frederick Marryat's _Jacob aithful_ "Whatever it is that smashes,
rs. T. always swear it was the most _valuable_ thing in the room. I'm like a bull in a china shop."
From _The Dictionary of Cliche_ by James Rogers