Cut the cheese

Posted by ESC on January 21, 2004

In Reply to: Help with a phrase posted by tj on January 21, 2004

: : Does ayone know the origin of 'cut the cheese' or 'who cut the cheese?'

"Cut" has been used in this manner, in various phrases, since the late 1800s. "Cut the cheese" appeared either in the 1950s or between 1965-70, depending on who you want to believe.

CUT THE CHEESE -- Since the late 1800s "cut" in various phrases meant "to expel intestinal gas." 1899 - To cut one's finger, is to break wind. "Cut the cheese" is placed in 1965-70 by this source. "Dictionary of American Regional English," Volume 1 by Frederic G. Cassidy (1985, Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass., and London, England). Another reference says the phrase "cut the cheese" was used earlier but with a different meaning: 1895 Gore, Student Slang, 17: Cut no cheese. To have no weight or value. From Random House Historical Dictionary of American Slang, Volume 1, A-G by J.E. Lighter, Random House, New York, 1994. A third source says the expression originated in the "Mainstream 1950s." From "Flappers 2 Rappers: American Youth Slang" by Tom Dalzell (Merriam-Webster Inc., Springfield, Md., 1996).