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To talk the stripes off a zebra

Posted by Smokey Stover on April 13, 2006

In Reply to: To talk the stripes off a zebra posted by R. Berg on April 12, 2006

: : Hi, I'm trying to find the meaning of "to talk the stripes off a zebra". My impression is that it either means that someone is very persuasive or that he talks too much and about unimportant things, but since I haven't found it anywhere I can't confirm. I need this for a class assignment. Thanks!

: It could be used either way. *My* impression is that "very persuasive (in speech)" is the primary meaning. The phrase suggests a con artist who knows how to get things, how to make a listener yield up something, by talking. But I have no research to back this up.

Bergie is right, pay attention to her. Except that it isn't just con men who can talk the stripes off a zebra, the spots of a leopard, etc., but any smooth talker, such as an Irishman with the gift of blarney, for instance. SS