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Chickens' insteps

Posted by RRC on May 21, 2007

In Reply to: Chickens' insteps posted by David FG on May 21, 2007

: : : : I know that people refer to small/non-existent muscles as "chickens' insteps", but where did this expression originate? How can a muscle look like the inner part of a chicken's foot?

: : : Chickens must control their feet by using small muscles. However, don't assume that the expression has a visual origin. Maybe it isn't based on the look of anything. It's likely similar in origin to "as scarce as hens' teeth." ~rb

: : Hmm, a massive 2 Google hits on this phrase, one of which says "She's as tense as a chicken's instep". The other says "arms no stronger than a chicken's instep".
: : I guess you'd have to ask an avian anatomist for the technical term, but I don't think birds have an instep. It's the arched part of the foot and I think birds have flat feet and a toe on the side to boot.

: Isn't that the point? Chickens don't have insteps, therefore muscles like a chicken's instep are non-existent.


Well, I've never heard this and I only have one reference to strong tension and one to weak arms which is only an indirect reference to muscles so it's not clear to me that there is a point.