Posted by Harikrishnan Menon on April 04, 2003
In Reply to: Curate's Egg posted by John Levy on April 03, 2003
: The phrase curate's egg itself means something that is partly good and partly bad and so not wholly satisfactory: "this book is a bit of a curate's egg"."
This must be a later development. The original connotation of "curate's egg" was a bad situation that one attempts to salvage through misplaced or pretended optimism. The idea being that an egg is either good or rotten; it can never be partly edible. The young curate is too timid to protest and risk his career - since his host happens to be far superior to him in the ecclesiastical pecking order. I suppose the other meaning (half-good, half-bad) is more current now.