phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

No spring chicken!

Posted by Shae on March 29, 2004

In Reply to: No spring chicken! posted by Sax on March 29, 2004

: Hi! Can you please tell me what this means (I think I've got it) and some history? Thank you, Sax

From the archives:

: : SPRING CHICKEN - "We find the expression 'now past a chicken,' meaning 'no longer young,' recorded as early as 1711 by Steele in 'The Spectator': 'You ought to consider you are now past a chicken; this Humour, which was well enough in a Girl, is insufferable in one of your Motherly Character.' 'No spring chicken,' an exaggeration of the phrase, is first recorded in America in 1906." From Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins by Robert Hendrickson (Facts on File, New York, 1997).

: The figurative meaning comes from the literal meaning: a young chicken, having tender meat. Some restaurant menus describe an offering as spring chicken to convince customers that the bird was slaughtered at the peak of perfection. This phrase doesn't seem to be applied to people very often anymore. Middle-aged and elderly women used to say "I'm no spring chicken," meaning they were past young adulthood, when talking about their attractiveness or their health and energy level.

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