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No spring chicken!

Posted by Smokey Stover 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

Back in the days before the industrialization of animal husbandry, animals customarily gave birth or hatched in the season or seasons appropriate to that species. Spring chickens were "young of the year," hatched that spring, and sent to market as roasting chickens at the age of about ten to fourteen weeks. Now, of course, we have chicks hatching throughout the year. In the 18th c. Americans began to use the phrase "no spring chicken" as a way of saying no longer young. (See OED s.v. spring chicken.) SS