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Like a lost lemon

Posted by R. Berg on January 31, 2003

In Reply to: Stood here like a lemon posted by Michael Ragg on January 31, 2003

: Does anyone know the origins of the phrase (left me)stood here like a lemon, parents say it and they are from Hull....I was wondering if it was to do with lemons left rotting in the dock or market ?

"Standing around like a lost lemon" is cited in Eric Partridge, Dictionary of Catch Phrases: American and British, from the Sixteenth Century to the Present Day as a "more ladylike version" of "standing about like a spare prick at a wedding," defined as "unwanted, useless, idle, esp. with a hint of painfully embarrassed superfluity." I don't know whether docks and markets were meant originally. At supermarkets, lemons do tend to get left out of the grocery bag if anything does. They're small enough to miss in packing and round enough to roll out of sight.

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